Access Management in the Kootenay Region



In the Kootenay Region as well as over much of British Columbia, the rapid expansion in the resource road network and the growing popularity of four-wheel drive and off-road vehicle use has resulted in a dramatic increase in public use of the forest roads and adjacent forest lands. This increase in public use has resulted in physical and human-access related impacts on sensitive ecosystems, fish and wildlife populations and their habitats, as well as a loss in diversity in traditional hunting, fishing and outdoor recreational experiences. Additional impacts on fish and wildlife habitat through the spread of invasive plant species, soil erosion and sedimentation of fisheries streams can also be directly related to motorized access. The provincial Wildlife Act provides the Ministry of Environment with the ability to manage access within sensitive areas or areas of high wildlife habitat value for the purpose of wildlife management, including the protection of fish and wildlife habitat.

Within  the Kootenay Region, approximately 4% of the total resource road network is managed under the provincial Wildlife Act. An additional 0.5 % of resource roads are managed through other provincial legislation. In the Rocky Mountain Forest District, approximately of 8% of the total district resource road network has some level of public motorized access restrictions implemented through the BC Wildlife Act.

The Legislation

The Ministry of Environment manages access through two section of the Wildlife Act.

Section 108 allows the ministry to place restrictions on the use of motorized vehicles for the purpose of hunting or fishing. These restrictions do not apply to other motorized recreation and industrial uses. This section is useful for the protection of populations from over-harvest as well as for the retention of a non-motorized fishing and or hunting recreational experience.

Section 109 allows the ministry to place restrictions on the use of all motorized vehicles within a specified area for the purpose of wildlife management including the protection of fish and/or wildlife habitat and ecosystems. This restriction applies to all motorized use.  Specific exemptions to this restriction for industry or other resource management requirements are granted through permit.

The Ministry of Environment encourages you to enjoy these areas and respect the non motorized experience that they provide. The following maps are available for public download for your convenience. Shape files for each closure boundary are also available to aid recreationalist that have GPS capability.

Reporting Violations

Please note: It is an offence under the Wildlife Act to remove, damage, alter or destroy any sign legally posted in support of the ministry Access Management Program.

Please report any violations to 1-877-952-7277 (Dial Toll Free) or report violators Online.

Information

If you would like additional information regarding the ministries access management program or information on any specific closure feel free to contact the Cranbrook Office at (250) 489-8540 or our Nelson office at (250) 354-6333 at your convenience.