Penticton News

Ministry seeks solution to off road vehicle use and ecosystem conflicts

The provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resoure Operations is seeking further public input regarding off road vehicle use and protection of sensitive ecosystems in the Okanagan Valley.
Image Credit: Shutterstock

PENTICTON - A desire to minimize the impacts of off road vehicle use in sensitive areas in the Okanagan has the province seeking further public input.

Residents are being asked to provide input into how grassland ecosystems in the area of Oliver Mountain can be protected from off road vehicle use, while at the same time respecting the rights of recreational vehicles.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations hosted two open houses last March to provide background information and gather public comment over various possible management options to allow off roading, while at the same time minimizing their impacts, according to a media release. First Nations groups are also taking part in the process.

At issue is the increasing use of off road vehicles in the valley, and the potential effects the activity has on 11 priority ecosystems and 17 federally listed species at risk.

Options to date include the use of alternative areas such as Bear Creek near West Kelowna, or the Okanagan Falls off road vehicle trail system, which is located close to Oliver Mountain, and the exploration of other nearby Crown land with less sensitive habitat.

The ministry hopes a solution can be found that will allow riders to continue off road use while at the same time providing protection to these sensitive areas, the release says.

More information about the discussion is available on line.

Those wishing to offer a suggestion or submit feedback can send an email by September 17 to SOKORV@gov.bc.ca.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.


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