BC Conservation Officer Service conducted patrols of closed rec sites in the North Okanagan and Shuswap over the Easter long weekend. (File)

BC Conservation Officer Service conducted patrols of closed rec sites in the North Okanagan and Shuswap over the Easter long weekend. (File)

Conservation officers patrol closed North Okanagan and Shuswap rec sites over Easter long weekend

Warnings and formal orders to vacate were issued to more than 30 people.

Not everyone was heeding the closures of parks and rec sites over the Easter long weekend

Conservation officers in the North Okanagan and Shuswap patrolled campsites closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic over the Easter long weekend. National Parks, B.C. Parks and campsites managed by Rec Sites and Trails BC have all been closed for weeks as part of provincewide efforts at social distancing.

Conservation Officer Jeff Hanratty said conservation officers focused their efforts on the rec sites because employees from the provincial and national parks handled enforcement there. He said 11 rec sites in the area covered by the North Okanagan conservation officers were identified for patrols; many of the rec sites in the area are still difficult to access due to snow. The area patrolled by the North Okanagan conservation officers ranges from the Okanagan Connector Highway to the north end of Shuswap Lake.

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Hanratty said three officers patrolled the rec sites on three separate days over the long weekend. On patrol the officers had contact with about 70 people.

He said 30 verbal warnings, 11 warning tickets and three formal orders to vacate were issued. Four violation tickets were also issued by the conservation officers. The ticketable offences were for a vehicle on a forest service road without proper insurance, unlicensed ATVs and for having a loaded firearm in a vehicle.

Hanratty said he hopes people are getting the message to stay home and isolate. While it’s unclear what coming weekends will bring, Hanratty said most people seem to be in compliance with the provincewide order.

He encouraged anyone seen violating the closed campground or any other wildlife or pollution regulation to call the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1-877-952-7277.

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jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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