An illegal encampment that has taken over the woods at the end of Bartley Road for more than a year has been cleared away by the Okanagan Forest Task Force, in conjunction with the RCMP and Natural Resources Canada.
In a post on the OFTF Facebook Group, founder Kane Blake detailed the lengthy process his group undertook to relocate those who were living in a group of fifth wheels and campers, get the vehicles and debris towed out of the area, and clean up the debris.
The encampment had been there for more than a year. In B.C., regulations state that, "a person may camp on Crown land for up to 14 consecutive calendar days."
Blake says he was contacted by Natural Resources and the RCMP for his take on the situation and to get his opinion on what it would take to get the encampment cleaned up.
Marios Towing did the heavy lifting. Blake says it took all day to get the various RVs out of the backcountry.
“We helped with the removal of the fifth wheels and assessing all the garbage that was left,” he told Castanet.
While most of the debris was in one area, they couldn’t get a garbage bin to the site. About 10 OFTF volunteers had to truck the trash to the location where the dumpster was parked.
All the metal on the site was sorted and 3,420 pounds of it was taken to ABC Recycling.
“I would like to thank the RCMP and Natural Resources officers," Blake wrote in his Facebook post. "It was a learning experience and (a) pleasure working alongside them, (and) everyone that helped today. This was NOT A PLANNED EVENT but one will be taking place in the same location this spring/summer."
OFTF has a list of sites it wants to tackle this year, including the Brenda Mine forest service road near Peachland, Postill Lake Road, Gillard forest service road and Goudie forest service road in the Kelowna area, and Carmi Road near Penticton.