Effective on Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, the operation of any off-road vehicle for recreational purposes on Crown land will be prohibited throughout the Koocanusa Area. In addition, all on-highway vehicles must remain on defined road surfaces. This step is being taken to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety. The operation of any off-road vehicles in these regions during the current wildfire situation creates a potential wildfire risk. While jeeps, trucks and other on-highway vehicles are permitted on designated roads, they are not allowed off-road.

A map of the affected areas is available online at: http://ow.ly/QTm330e9G5n

For more specific details on what this prohibition entails, an FAQ is available here: FAQ: Off-road vehicle restrictions due to wildfires

A campfire ban remains in effect. For more information visit the BC Wildfire Service website.

Welcome to Koocanusa!

Enjoy

Koocanusa today.

Conserve

it for tomorrow.

Each year, more than 100,000 people visit this area. On a typical summer weekend, tens of thousands of people are recreating in the Koocanusa.

Please help conserve the cultural heritage, natural beauty, diverse ecosystems, fish, wildlife and the many wild spaces that are important to all of us.

With so many people enjoying this area, it’s important that we all do our part to keep this place clean, protect sensitive ecosystems, at-risk species, historical sites and cultural heritage, and help reduce the spread of invasive species.

The Koocanusa Recreation Steering Committee (KRSC) supports Crown Land recreation that maintains the economic value, ecological integrity, cultural values and aesthetic appeal of the Koocanusa area for current and future users.

Crown Land Recreation in the Koocanusa Area

The Koocanusa area is a regionally important tourism and recreation asset, attracting outdoor enthusiasts for activities such as fishing, hunting, camping, boating, wildlife viewing and off-road vehicle use. It is also an area of traditional use for First Nations and falls within the territory of the Ktunaxa Nation.

In recent years, increased tourism and recreation have led to negative impacts on Crown land in the area including degradation of Ktunaxa cultural values, sensitive grasslands and wildlife habitat, excessive litter and garbage in the backcountry and public health and safety concerns.

In 2014, MLA Bill Bennett and Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson initiated the Koocanusa Recreation Steering Committee (KRSC) to help address a range of issues related to tourism and recreation activities on Crown land in the Koocanusa area.

The KRSC, a partnership between the Province of B.C., Ktunaxa National Council, Tobacco Plains Indian Band, Regional District of East Kootenay and Columbia Basin Trust, commissioned a report to identify Crown Land recreational issues and recommendations to reduce the most significant impacts.

The report, Koocanusa Area Situational Analysis and Recommendations for Crown Land Recreation, included 23 recommendations. Several of these priority actions were implemented or supported by the KRSC, including:

  • Development of recreation guidelines for Crown land in the Koocanusa;
  • Updates to existing recreation signage and installation of new signage at popular Crown land access points;
  • Printing and distribution of a Koocanusa recreation brochure;
  • Enhanced garbage facilities including a new recreational transfer station site and temporary garbage bins on popular long weekends; and
  • Developed the Koocanusa Recreation Guardian Program, hiring two additional Natural Resource Officers to focus on education, enforcement and stewardship efforts in the Koocanusa area.
  • Prepared the Koocanusa Recreation Management Options and completed a three-year community engagement process from January 23 to February 17, 2017, including for open houses in Grasmere, Cranbrook, Fernie and Jaffray.

What’s next?

Working with a local advisory group, the KRSC is currently developing a Crown land recreation management strategy for the Dorr-Grasmere area that clearly identifies where specific recreational activities are permitted and prohibited on Crown lands.

Contact us for more information.

Koocanusa Recreation Steering Committee Partners

Province of BCKtunaxa Nation.Regional District of East Kootenay.Columbia Basin Trust.