COs warn backroads users they’ll be out there

With the first long weekend of spring, conservation officers warn they'll be watching for illegal activity on Okanagan backroads.

road closure map

Conservation officers will be patrolling backroads this long weekend to try and prevent damage to habitat from off-road vehicles and mud bogging, advises CO Jim Beck.

In particular, new regulations take affect this year that protect an area between Peachland and Summerland, between Highway 97 and the Garnet Valley from use by motor vehicles, except on designated roads.

Several large parcels of land in that area were purchased in the 1980s for protection of fish and wildlife, but no active management took place, said Beck.

Since then, the amount of habitat damage that’s occurred has worsened every year, but now there’s a move to put regulations in place to restrict activity causing damage, and enforce those restrictions, he said.

The area contains some of the Central Okanagan’s most valuable wildlife habitat, particularly as winter and early spring grazing land for mule deer, but also for other wildlife species, some of which are federally listed as ‘at risk,’ said Beck.

Illegal trail building and use, the erosion that results and the spread of invasive plants on that disturbed land have all resulted in a loss of habitat he said.

In the new regulation under the Wildlife Act, motorcycles and snowmobiles are restricted to a single north/south designated route between Jan. 1 and Apr. 30 when mule deer are at their most vulnerable and in need of this habitat.

In January of 2014, a second phase is set to be implemented which would define more trails for use from May 1 to Dec. 31.

Although the changes won’t impact the average user on most existing roads in that area, illegal trails and roads will be closed, said Beck.

He said officers will also be out during the weekend patrolling other areas where there are concerns about illegal outdoor activities and their impact on the environment.

 

jsteeves@kelownacapnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Kelowna mom concerned with needles found at Knox Mountain Park

Maria Beinarowitz, who has a five-year-old son, said she’s noticed a fair amount at the Kelowna park

UBC Okanagan Heat athletes nominated for awards

28th Annual Athletic Awards Celebration will recognize the star athletes

Updated: Scene cleared after accident near Ellison Lake

An accident near Ellison Lake near Kelowna and Lake Country is causing traffic delays

‘The whole city has changed’: Kelowna woman in New Zealand reacts to mosque attacks

An expatriate and Muslim students at UBC Okanagan deeply affected by white supremacist shooting

Swoop brings in cheap flights from Kelowna to Vegas

This will be the low-cost airlines second flight route out of Kelowna

Temperatures on the rise for the Okanagan Valley

Okanagan-Shuswap weekday weather update

Dozens of B.C. temperature records smashed as spring brings early warmth

Squamish Airport was the hottest spot in all of Canada on Monday

VIDEO: Vancouver police release clip of ‘life-altering’ 2018 assault in search for suspects

The attack happened at about 2 a.m. on Mar. 31, 2018, outside Pierre’s Champagne Lounge in Yaletown

Hackers seek holes in B.C. Hydro power grid, auditor says

System meets standards, but local outages still a concern

B.C. RCMP stop cyclist with no helmet, find out he’s wanted for murder

Kyle Antonio Dias, 19, to face second-degree murder charge in Toronto

British Columbia Teachers’ Federation welcomes new leader

Teri Mooring will take over as president this summer

Vernon ordered to reinstate terminated firefighters caught having sex at work

City believes arbitration board erred, exploring options

Disappearance of Merritt cowboy now deemed suspicious: police

Ben Tyner was reported missing when his riderless horse was discovered on a logging road

Distillers hope federal budget scraps alcohol escalator tax

Tax hike set for April 1, marking third automatic increase in three years time

Most Read