Signs are posted at the entrance of the deactivated roads. (Photo Contributed)

Signs are posted at the entrance of the deactivated roads. (Photo Contributed)

Backcountry road deactivation results in public disappointment

Two highly trafficked forest service roads were closed prior to public consultation

Local outdoor enthusiasts are at a crossroads with the Elk Valley Cumulative Effects Management Framework (EV-CEMF), following two recent road deactivations on and around Teck land near the District of Elkford.

In response to the road closures, the Elkford ATV Club expressed concern over the lack of consultation with user groups prior to the road deactivations.

“Our club was dismayed to find out that recreational users were not given fair consideration to keep these roads open,” said President of the Elkford ATV Club, Murray Haight.

The EV-CEMF is made up of stakeholders such as Indigenous and provincial government bodies dedicated to ecosystem management by assessing human activities and natural processes that build to impact the environment, otherwise known as cumulative effects. Road rehabilitation was selected as a priority in addressing such effects, with the study area spanning the entire Elk Valley.

In a Skype call with representatives in charge of the EV-CEMF, the Elkford ATV Club mentioned the popularity of those roads.

“We also brought forward that the general public had no knowledge of these road closures and no chance to be consulted or to be allowed to comment on CEMF,” said Haight.

Of particular concern to Haight are the barriers road deactivation adds to those with mobility issues who are unable to hike large distances, thus using the roads for outdoor recreation.

“(We) understand the need for environmental protection and we all support road density management that brings industry and recreational users together for collaborative discussions that can benefit the recreational sector by saving roads with high recreational values while prioritizing lower value roads for rehabilitation,” said Haight.

Haight furthered that trail management overseen by clubs such as the Elkford Trails Alliance would benefit industry by reducing road deactivation costs.

With support from the Elkford Chamber of Commerce, the Elkford ATV Club is putting forth a delegation at the Elkford Council Meeting on Oct. 26. According to Haight, the Elkford ATV Club will be requesting that the district post maps and facilitate public consultation prior to rehabilitating future roads, in an effort to have recreational interests represented at all levels of government when it comes to forestry planning.

In response to road closures on their land, Teck Coal – a supporter of the Elk Valley CEMF – is seeking community input from outdoor recreationalists via a Road Deactivation and Access Management Workshop held on Oct. 28. The meeting will discuss priority areas for land access, road deactivation, and historical trail use on Teck land.

“Road rehabilitation can improve conditions for grizzly bear, bighorn sheep, old growth and mature forests, and aquatic ecosystems,” said Norman Fraser, Lead of Indigenous Initiatives for Teck.

“It is important for us to gain feedback and input from communities prior to initiating work in the region, recognizing that outdoor recreational access is also a core value for many residents of in the Elk Valley… Capturing this knowledge will help us to identify the right opportunities and develop well-informed plans.”

The workshop will take place at the Elkford Community Conference Centre. Social distancing protocols will be in place. Those interested in attending must email

Another input opportunity will be held at Teck’s annual backcountry user and outdoor recreational meeting on Dec. 2.

For more information on the EV-CEMF, visit the Government of British Columbia’s website.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Some of the folks behind Angel Flight East Kootenay: Todd Weselake is a director, partner and pilot while Brent Bidston is the president and lead pilot of the not-for-profit. Pictured here with their older plane, they hope to get an upgrade for thanks to RDEK funding. (Image courtesy of Angel Flight East Kootenay)
Angel Flight secures RDEK funding for next five years

$100,000 will go to the not-for-profit each year, with the funds to be used to acquire a larger plane

This Dec. 2, 2020, file photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)
Interior Health notes 80 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

108 people in the region have died from the virus

Last week warming temperatures were a concern for Avalanche Canada forecasters, and those trends likely contributed to an avalanche that killed a West Kootenay snowmobiler on Thursday, March 4. Jen Coulter file photo.
Warming trend contributed to Kaslo fatality: Avalanche Canada

Concern for persistent layers has reduced since then

(L-R) Michelle Malan, Administrator for the Elk Valley Seniors Housing Society (Lilac Terrace) and Stephonie Gordon, Staff Representative of the Legacy Celebration Committee, Sparwood Branch. (Contributed by EKC)
EKC gives $10k to Lilac Terrace

The funding is part of the EKC’s 70s anniversary celebrations

Forty-eight vaccination clinics will open across Interior Health beginning March 15. (Canadian Press)
48 COVID-19 vaccine clinics to open across Interior Health

Select groups can book appointments starting Monday

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron (41) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes (43) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Monday, March 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Captain Clutch: Horvat nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Habs 2-1

Vancouver, Montreal tangle again on Wednesday

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Most Read