Under the Forest and Range Practices Act, the Province is closing the Dorr Road Recreation Site around the Koocanusa reservoir from April 15 to May 1, 2019.
For the past few years, concerns have been growing about unauthorized mud bogging, an off-road motorsport, in the area. This activity has resulted in associated land and environmental impacts on Crown land in and around the Koocanusa reservoir, particularly the Dorr Road and Umbrella Beach areas.
Lake Koocanusa straddles the Canada-U.S. border southeast of Cranbrook. In 2017, an estimated 3,000 people and 1,200 vehicles participated in unauthorized mud bogging events in the area.
Specific concerns are:
- water and soil contamination;
- destruction of forest and rangeland habitat;
- lack of sanitation and garbage disposal;
- public safety;
- archeology, cultural site and community disturbance;
- damage of recreational infrastructure; and
- wildlife displacement.
During the two-week closure, conservation and natural resource officers, supported by RCMP, will monitor mud bogging activities around the Koocanusa reservoir to manage public safety and enforce any applicable provincial laws and closures. Motorized vehicles will not be able to access the reservoir at Dorr Road. Signs will be posted to that effect.
The Province is stepping up environmental monitoring in the area. Current water and soil contamination samples will be compared with samples taken after the Easter and May long weekends.
While the Dorr Road area is a recreation site and subject to provincial recreation legislation, the Umbrella Beach area is not. Nonetheless, the Province is working with First Nations and other stakeholders to look at other possible land-use restrictions and mud bogging enforcement options for Umbrella Beach in 2020.
For more than four years, the Province has worked collaboratively with the Ktunaxa Nation, stakeholders and local governments on a recreation strategy for the entire Koocanusa area. The recreation strategy seeks to manage the significant interest in camping and trail use in the area. Mud bogging is not considered a legitimate activity and is neither supported nor included in the strategy.
Members of the public can learn online about the Koocanusa recreation strategy and the need to use B.C.’s recreational areas safely and responsibly: