The B.C. Government is implementing camping restrictions throughout the entire Koocanusa Recreation Strategy area this spring and summer, as well as restricting motorized recreation such as the use of off-road vehicles, including mudbogging.

The decision was made to prevent environmental damage, while also ensuring the orders from the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) during the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, the B.C. Government also announced the widespread closure of all provincial parks.

More: B.C. Closing All Provincial Parks Indefinitely (April 8, 2020)

The new restrictions fo Koocanusa will be take effect at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 and remain in effect until otherwise noted.

“Although overnight camping will be prohibited in this area, people may still use designated roads and trails on a day-use basis as long as they adhere to physical distancing guidelines and other restrictions that may be in place,” said the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD)

More: Koocanusa Recreation Strategy (Koocanus Recreation)

The restrictions are implemented by FLNRORD under Section 58 of the Forest and Range Practices Act, in partnership with teh RCMP, the BC Conservation Officers Service, Ktunaxa Nation, Tobacco Plains Indian Band, and other local governments in the affected region.

“There have been growing concerns in recent years about unauthorized mudbogging (i.e., operating or racing off-road vehicles in wet earth or mud) on Crown land around the Koocanusa reservoir – particularly in the Dorr Road and Umbrella Beach areas – and its associated impacts on the land and the environment,” said FLNRORD, who noted that the Section 58 restrictions are consistent with orders from the PHO under the provincial state of emergency, specifically the prohibition of gatherings over 50 people and physical distancing.

“In the midst of a global pandemic that has affected hundreds of people throughout this province and neighbouring jurisdictions, British Columbians and visitors from other provinces are urged to follow the advice of public health officials.”

In regards to specific concerns with mudbogging, FLNORD noted the following potential impacts of the activity:

  • water and soil contamination;
  • damage to forest and rangeland habitat;
  • lack of sanitation and garbage facilities;
  • public safety;
  • impacts on archeological and cultural resources;
  • damage to recreational infrastructure; and
  • displacement of wildlife.

“The restrictions will be enforced by the Province’s natural resource officers, conservation officers and the RCMP, who will conduct regular patrols and educate the public at access points into the area.”

Anyone who does not comply with the restrictions will be issued a $115 violation ticket and told the vacate the area.