Input sought for off-road vehicle use

As part of an ongoing government planning processes, the government is asking for residents input in protecting sensitive ecosystems.

More public input is being sought on off-road vehicle use in the South Okanagan.

As part of an ongoing government planning process, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations staff hosted two open houses in Osoyoos and Oliver in March. Now they are asking residents to suggest ways to help protect sensitive grassland ecosystems in the Oliver Mountain area while also considering interests of recreational users, such as drivers of off-road vehicles.

Options that were discussed at the open houses in March include encouraging off-road vehicle riders to use alternative sites, such as the well-established Bear Creek and Okanagan Falls off-road vehicle trail systems and identifying other nearby sites on Crown land that contain less-sensitive habitat and might be suitable for off-road vehicle activities.

The goal of the public input is to explore different management options for minimizing the environmental impacts of recreational activities in the Oliver Mountain area. The ministry is also consulting with First Nations. Off-road vehicle use has been expanding, according to the provincial government, and the effects on 11 priority ecosystems and 17 federally listed species-at-risk in the region have also increased.

Anyone who wishes to offer a suggestion or submit feedback on the project can email by Sept. 17.