Vandals destroyed newly installed recreation use signs in the Koocanusa area, causing an estimated $5,000 in property damage. Photo submitted.

Vandals destroyed newly installed recreation use signs in the Koocanusa area, causing an estimated $5,000 in property damage. Photo submitted.

Vandals destroy recreation signage around Koocanusa

Newly-installed signs destroyed, with estimated $5,000 in property damage

Vandals have destroyed newly installed signage that outlined new regulations in the Koocnausa region, causing an estimated $5,000 in property damage, according to a press release from the Koocanusa Recreation Steering Committee.

The signs are part of a messaging campaign on the regulations for the Koocanusa Recreation Management Area, which limits motorized recreation to designated roads and trails and restricts crown land camping to designated sites.

“The Koocanusa is an important tourism and recreation area with significant ecological, cultural and resource values,” reads a section of the press release. “The recreation use signs were an important component to educating and communicating with the public on how to enjoy the area legally, responsibly, and appropriately.”

Anyone with information about the vandalism is encouraged to contact the Cranbrook RCMP at 250-489-3471, through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or through an online crime reporting tool.

Mudbogging and other off-road vehicle use in the region, including the Koocanusa river-bottom, remains prohibited and subject to enforcement and penalties. The B.C. Conservation Officers’ Service will be patrolling the region this weekend to enforce the restrictions.

The restrictions are part of a provincial government order that was issued last April, ostensibly as a response to concerns over environmental damage to off-road vehicle use, but also as a tool to prevent large crowds from camping in close proximity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

That order, under Section 58 of the Forests and Range Practices Act, remains in effect.

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