BC Conservation Officers investigating after protected area violated

Protected area violated

BC Conservation Officers are investigating after vehicle tracks were discovered in the Graystokes Protected Area, which is located approximately 45 km northeast of Kelowna.

The protected area encompasses approximately 11,958 hectares, with the majority of the area being made up of spruce forests and wetlands. The area is considered an excellent representation of the North Okanagan Highlands.

Brad Gretzinger tells Castanet he was backpacking in the area recently when he came across obvious vehicle tracks through the ecologically sensitive area.

"I reported this to BC Parks but haven't heard back."

Gretzinger shared his photos of the environmental damage with us and we sent them to the BC Conservation Officer Service. 

"I was backpacking in Graystokes Provincial Park and discovered someone had driven a 4x4 vehicle deep into the park's closed area. The 4x4 drove (on) sensitive alpine areas and meadows causing environmental damage," says Gretzinger.

Conservation Officer, Ed Seitz tells Castanet the damage is considered a violation under the BC Park Act section 32(1). 

"This section carries a fine of $288 by ticket. Also if they go off-trail they could be charged for environmental damage under the BC Forest and Range Practices Act section 46 (1.1), which carries a fine of $575 by ticket."

Seitz also says the Off-Road Vehicle Act gives officers many other options to deal with violators. 

"If people observe violations they can call our Report All Poachers and Polluters at 1-877-952-7277. A license plate number is best as it gives us someone to speak with," says Seitz.

Graystokes Protected Area was set aside for the protection of a portion of the Mission Creek drainage for water, conservation, biodiversity and recreation purposes in 2001.

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