Campers kicked out of campgrounds due to COVID-19 on long weekend - InfoNews

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Campers kicked out of campgrounds due to COVID-19 on long weekend

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service issued numerous orders to vacate recreation and provincial park campgrounds still closed due to COVID-19 over the May long weekend.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / B.C. Conservation Officer Service Facebook page
May 21, 2020 - 5:30 PM

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service was busy over the May long weekend as enforcement continued in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic recreational area closings.

The province’s forestry and recreation sites don’t open for camping until June, but it seems that failed to deter many campers on the weekend.

Province-wide, the service issued 100 orders to vacate for illegal camping in rec sites or parks on the long weekend.

The public made 103 calls to the province’s #RAPP line over the weekend as the conservation officer service made more than 190 charges and issued 170 warnings for violations such as entering closed parks, angling, hunting, firearms and wildlife.

In the Thompson Fraser region, conservation officer Mike Sanderson says recreation sites were patrolled Friday, Saturday and Sunday, resulting in 11 warnings for camping in closed campgrounds.

Fifteen orders to vacate were also issued.

Sanderson says it was a ‘pretty typical’ May long weekend as conservation officers also dealt with one firearms infraction, two Wildlife Act tickets and a Park Act ticket.

Sanderson said he was “shocked” to find many non-local campers in the area, most of whom were from the Lower Mainland.

He said the region’s conservations officers in Barriere teamed up with members of the RCMP for joint enforcement patrols on the weekend.

“It’s something we do from time to time. It’s a collaborative effort that benefits both organizations,” he said.

In the North Okanagan, conservation officer Jeff Hanratty says 19 orders to vacate were issued, and 19 warnings regarding illegal camping were written.

The service issued one warning under the Canada Shipping Act, four warnings for unregistered offroad vehicles and 1 warning for a motor vehicle with no insurance.

Charges included two unregistered off road vehicles, two charges for over-limit fishing, one for failing to produce a fishing license and one for angling without a license.

Hanratty says while not excessively busy this weekend, it had a ‘different spin’ as officers enforced regulations pertaining to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

North Okanagan RCMP were out on local lakes as well on the weekend. Media relations officer Cpl. Tania Finn says officers were out both Saturday and Sunday on Okanagan Lake and Monday on Kalamalka Lake.

“From my understanding, only warnings were given in order to educate boat operators,” she said of the enforcement actions.

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