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More grasslands surveillance planned

August 29, 2016 2:09 P.M.
Map showing areas in Batchelor Hills to be closed to off-road vehicles. Green area remains open.

More surveillance is planned for the Lac du Bois/Batchelor Heights area in an effort to curb illegal dumping.

The persistent problem came up in connection with additional off-road vehicle closures in the area, announced Friday, Aug. 26, by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Noelle Kekula of Recreational Sites and Trails B.C., said Monday that the closures in Lac du Bois, along with another in the lower Noble Creek area, are part of a plan to more effectively manage the protected area.

The designated ORV area in Batchelor Heights, 450 hectares in area, will remain open, she emphasized. The same goes for the designated ORV area around upper Noble Creek.

As of Sept. 1, two areas flanking the east and west sides of the Lac du Bois ORV area will be closed to vehicles. As well, a 794-ha area surrounding lower Noble Creek will be closed to off-road vehicles.

Kekula said off-road drivers have always respected the boundaries of the ORV area. That wasn’t the rationale for additional closures. Rather, the new areas were not previously designated within the Lac du Bois Protected Area. They contain species at risk and fragile grasslands, so the ministry is doing what it can to enhance protection, Kekula said

“The big thing up there is garbage dumping,” she said, citing the most recent and conspicuous example, a complete hot tub deposited in the grasslands.

It’s a mystery as to why, evidently, some home renovators and contractors almost routinely drive their waste materials into the protected area and dump them for others to pick up.

“I don’t know,” Kekula said. “I don’t get it.”

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