Group of campers plead guilty to using closed campsite site near Adams Lake | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Group of campers plead guilty to using closed campsite site near Adams Lake

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November 02, 2017 - 12:49 PM

KAMLOOPS - A group of campers have been slapped with fines, one year after tenting in a closed-off area of a provincial park near Adams Lake.

Alicia Davies, James Broshak, Clinton Davies, Derek Davies and Marc Skjerpen went camping with several other people at Momich Lakes Provincial Park in August 2016 to celebrate Derek's birthday. 

B.C Conservation Officer Service received an anonymous tip beforehand, saying a group of campers were going to be in a restricted area, which led to a surveillance operation focusing on the closed Momich Lakes East campsite, Crown prosecutor Joel Gold told Kamloops Provincial Court today, Nov. 2.

That area of the provincial park was restricted from the public due to the significant damage it suffered during the 2009 Barriere wildfire.

"Hazardous trees throughout this area and slope instability directly above the campsite are major safety concerns," B.C. Parks states on its website. "Access to this area is prohibited."

Gold told the court a boulder blocking the access road to the campsite had been in place prior to the weekend, but it was found to be moved after the group had arrived.

On Aug. 13, conservation officers observed nine tents, a fire pit and three off-road vehicles including a Jeep parked on the beach, which was prohibited from being used by the public. Gold said throughout that afternoon officers observed campers driving the off-road vehicles.

Eventually officers confronted the campers, interviewed them and confirmed they were all camping.

Gold told the court there is another co-accused in the case, Kenneth McKelvie. Court records show McKelvie is facing charges under the Park Act of illegally discharging a firearm or bow, illegal use of a vehicle and illegal camping. He's expected to be arraigned in Kamloops Provincial Court next week.

The campers were using the weapons for target practice in an open space near the campsite, Gold said, adding the involvement of a firearm made the case more aggravating.

"It's not a very common case at all to come before the courts," he said.

Derek, Clinton and Alicia Davies, along with Broshak and Skjerpen, pleaded guilty to charges including illegal camping.

Crown sought a $300 fine on each count that each person was facing, except for Derek Davies. Gold argued his fine should be higher at $500 due to his job as a guide outfitter. He said Derek should be held to a higher standard and ought to have known better.

Alicia Davies argued that her fine should be less because if she had been fined at the scene the amount could have been significantly less. Alicia said she has lost wages from taking time off of work to attend court appearances.

Alicia said the officers at the scene took down information from every camper and she doesn't understand why it took one year to be served. She also says they were singled out as there were several other people camping at the time.

Provincial Court judge Stephen Harrison said since Alicia suffered financial loss, he would give her a small discount and enforce a fine of $250.

Broshak and Clinton Davies were both fined a total of $600 for their charges of illegal camping and illegal use of a vehicle, while Derek was fined $400.

Skjerpen also argued for a lesser fine claiming his group was singled out by conservation officers. The judge still imposed a $300 fine.

"It's no help to you to point out other people were breaking the law too," Harrison told him.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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