An undeveloped camping area at Colvalli in the Koocanusa. Photo courtesy KRSC.

Koocanusa Recreation Strategy eases crown land camping restrictions

The provincial government is easing up on restrictions that had previously banned overnight camping on Crown land in the Koocanusa region.

The Section 58 order, issued by the provincial government and implemented a year ago right as the coronavirus pandemic took off globally, restricted motorized vehicle access to designated roads and banned camping on Crown land.

That order was amended on May 14, 2021 to align with the release of the Koocanusa Recreation Strategy, which has resulted in more public access to designated, but undeveloped camping areas. The strategy, developed by the Koocanusa Recreation Steering Committee, is focused maintaining the ecological integrity, cultural values, recreation experience and economic value of the Koocausa region.

A draft of the plan was presented in March, and public feedback was solicited through a survey that generated 244 respondents. In addition to the survey and public engagement process, First Nations and affected stakeholders were contacted directly for their input.

Extensive work, research and public engagement over the last five years has gone into developing the strategy, which will be implemented and enforced immediately, according to a news release.

“While the majority supported the draft Strategy [55 per cent] there were a number of people who had concerns over specific aspects,” said Jeff Zukiwsky, Coordinator of the KRSC. “The majority of people opposed to the Strategy did not like the camping restrictions, and some wanted to see additional areas designated for motorized recreation. However, some people were opposed because they wanted more enforcement of the restrictions and expressed concerns the restrictions did not do enough to protect the environment.”

The amended order permits camping in undeveloped areas identified in the Koocausa Recreation Strategy, which can accommodate over 200 camping units covering approximately 95 hectares of Crown land. However, those sites are user-maintained, with no facilities and limited access.

Those undeveloped sites in Crown land backcountry can be found in areas that include Sharptail, Strauss, Linklater, Rocky Road, Colvalli, Rock Creek, Kikomun Creek, Blue Bottom and Fussee.

Additionally, there are over 300 camping sites in places that include Kikomun Creek Provincial Park, and several recreation sites in the region such as Wapiti Lake, North Star Lake, Suzanne Lake, Kikomun Creek, Loon Lake, Edwards Lake, Gold Creek Bay, Gold Creek and Englishman Creek, and more in the Grasmere area – Western Pine and Grasmere.

Public feedback will guide further discussions and potential revisions of the Koocanusa Strategy, which is considered a living document and subject to change.

Maps of the designated motorized roads and trails, as well as designated camping areas, can be found on the Koocanusa Recreation Steering Committee website. Feedback on the amended order can be submitted to the province through email.

Just Posted

The ‘official’ opening of 2nd Edition Coworking in downtown Fernie, a project five years in the making by the Fernie Chamber of Commerce. Left to right: Executive Director of the Fernie Chamber Brad Parsell, incoming President of the Fernie Chamber Norm Fraser, outgoing President of the Fernie Chamber Anita Palmer, and Mayor of Fernie Ange Qualizza. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Fernie Chamber cuts the ribbon on 2nd Edition

The new coworking space in Fernie is now ‘officially’ open, but has been operating since early 2021

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Sparwood Mayor David Wilks with the new AED SaveStation installed at the Sparwood Leisure Centre. (Contributed by District of Sparwood)
Sparwood installs public AED

The SaveStation was installed thanks to a grant from CP Rail

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

“Gift card scam,” and “grandparent scam” are on the rise, Cranbrook RCMP say

Folks are falling for these scams: “No Government agency or reputable company will ever ask anyone to pay with gift cards in lieu of their fines”

How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

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

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

Most Read