Vandals have damaged a large area of Tembec land near Elkford with “mud bogging,” driving four-wheel drive vehicles through mud and ripping up the earth.
Around June 11, people accessed the Round Prairie area just north of Elkford, on Elk Lakes Road, and caused significant environmental damage to the area known locally as the “peat moss pit.”
Steve Temple, Tembec Lands Supervisor, said Tembec has a responsibility to protect the land from environmental damage, and closing the land to the public might be their only option.
“We had to close the access road for a time to let the area dry out,” he said. “It is open again now but if we have any more problems we would look at closing the land to the public. “Tembec is FSC certified which means we have a responsibility to prevent environmental damage. If the only way to do this is to close the land to the public then we would have to look at that option.”
Temple said there has not been a problem with vandals on Tembec land since 2006.
“We just ask people to stick to the roads in their vehicles, and we are happy for walkers to use the land.
“As an environmentally responsible company, Tembec is deeply upset at this conduct and will endeavour to determine those responsible.”
Tembec is the largest private landowner in the East Kootenays, and has provided free public access to their lands since they bought the lands in 1994.
Temple said that sometimes the portions of the managed forest have to be closed, due to sensitive conditions such as wet spring conditions or during times of extreme fire hazard.
Anyone with any information can contact Stephen Temple, in confidence, at 250-529-7211 ext 244.