Mud boggers getting spattered with fines in the North Okanagan - InfoNews

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Mud boggers getting spattered with fines in the North Okanagan

Conservation officers found this vehicle being used for mud bogging in the North Okanagan.
Image Credit: Conservation Officer Service
February 09, 2017 - 9:00 PM

OKANAGAN - The Conservation Service means business when it comes to illegal mud bogging.

In B.C., irresponsible off-roading with four-by-fours, motorcycles or other vehicles on Crown land — sometimes referred to as mud bogging — is a crime that carries a $575 fine on the low end, and up to $100,000 and/or jail time on the high end, as of April 2015 when new regulations came into effect.

And conservation officers in the North Okanagan are finding opportunities to hand out those tickets.

Over the 2016 May long weekend, for example, conservation officers caught two men mud bogging around the Duteau Creek Watershed, which serves the Greater Vernon area and has been an area of concern for some years, conservation officer Ed Seitz says. The individuals disputed the tickets in court, but eventually pleaded guilty and paid penalties for the offence. 

Seitz wants people to know that conservation officers are patrolling Crown land and won't hesitate to hand out the fines — as the men mud bogging in the Duteau Creek Watershed found out. 

“We’ve encountered a lot of these big four-by-four trucks with jacked up suspension. They’re out and about in the high country wherever they can find mud or meadows or swamps, often in the watersheds used for drinking water,” Seitz says.

The effects of mud bogging in the North Okanagan backcountry.
The effects of mud bogging in the North Okanagan backcountry.
Image Credit: Conservation Officer Service

The activity can cause soil disruption and lead to contaminants like gasoline or other vehicle fluids getting into the water supply, Seitz says.

Taking your off-road vehicle on designated roads and trails is allowed, but it’s against the law to venture off into swamps, meadows and watersheds. 

“A lot of them know it’s illegal,” Seitz says of the people who get caught. “There are signs up in these areas…. They know what they’re doing.”

He says some mud boggers have equipped their vehicles with light bars so they can go out at night when there is less chance of getting nabbed.

Conservation officers are conducting night patrols, and also encourage the public to be their eyes and ears in the backcountry.

“People are more aware nowadays,” Seitz says. “The public that are up there camping or recreating, if they see this activity, most of them know it’s illegal and to report it.”

People can call the violation hotline at 1-844-676-8477. Seitz encourages them to get a picture, or description of the vehicle, as well as the license plate, if there is one.

In the North Okanagan, the service hands out roughly six of the $575 tickets every year, Seitz says.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 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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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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