Koocanusa Recreation Strategy
Koocanusa Recreation Resources
Motor Vehicle Closed Areas
Motor Vehicle Closed Areas, formerly referred to as AMA’s, are designated areas where vehicle use is managed under the Wildlife Act to reduce damage to fish and wildlife habitat and/or to protect fish and wildlife populations. Several Motor Vehicle Closed Areas exist in the Koocanusa region:
The map provides more information about Motor Vehicle Closed Areas in the Koocanusa area. For more information visit: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/kootenay/eco/accessmaps.htm
Permits, Reporting and Safety
BC Wildfire Management Branch
The BC Wildfire Management Branch has information about reporting wildfires in BC, current fire bans and fire danger ratings. Visit bcwildfire.ca.
Front Counter BC
Contact FrontCounter BC for information and permits required for timber harvesting and hosting events on Crown Land.
Front Counter BC has information on:
- Obtaining a crown land forest cutting permit
- Obtaining permission to host an event
Conservation Officer Service
The Conservation Officer Service is a public safety provider focused on natural resource law enforcement and human wildlife conflicts prevention and response.
Transport Canada promotes efficient marine transportation and safe, secure and sustainable marine practices; oversees marine infrastructure; regulates the safe transportation of dangerous goods by water; and helps protect the marine environment.
Ktunaxa Nation Council
The Koocanusa area is within the Ktunaxa Nation traditional territory. For more than 10,000 years Ktunaxa people have inhabited this area and used it for hunting and cultural purposes.
The Ktunaxa Nation Council promotes the political and social development of the Nation. The goals of the Ktunaxa Nation Council include preservation and promotion of Ktunaxa traditional knowledge, language and culture, community and social development and wellness, land and resource development, economic investment and self-government.
The Ktunaxa Nation Council (KNC) is accountable to the Chiefs and Council of the Ktunaxa Nation.
Read the Ktunaxa Creation Story
Regional District of East Kootenay
The Regional District of East Kootenay is a local government that provides a variety of services to residents in the Koocanusa area including land use planning, water supply, sewage disposal, fire protection, recreation, community parks, emergency management programs, solid waste and invasive plant control.
Columbia Basin Trust
Columbia Basin Trust (the Trust) supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. We often work behind the scenes and take our lead from residents and communities. The Trust is here to offer resources, experience and support to all Basin residents. While our range of services, programs, initiatives and financial investments is complex, our purpose is straightforward and easy to understand: we exist and act for the social, economic and environmental well-being of the Columbia Basin—now and for generations to come.
Regional Plans and Strategies
- Cranbrook West Recreation Management Strategy (2005)
- Lake Koocanusa Official Community Plan (2013)
- Lake Koocanusa Campfire Ban and Recreation Issues. Forest Practices Board Report (2009)
- Lake Koocanusa Recreational Land Use Strategy (1991)
- Upper Kootenay Ecosystem Enhancement Plan (2014)
East Kootenay Invasive Species Council
To learn more about invasive species in the Koocanusa area visit the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council website.
Koocanusa Reservoir & Libby Dam
The US Army Corps of Engineers operates the Libby Dam for the purposes of flood reduction, hydropower, recreation and environmental stewardship.
Learn more about the Columbia River Treaty.
See a virtual flyover of Libby Dam and Koocanusa Reservoir.
Acts & Regulations
The following acts and regulations provide details on recreation use on Crown lands in Koocanusa:
- Environmental Management Act – The Environmental Management Act (section 12) prohibits littering in a public place.
- Forest Recreation Regulation – Part 4 of the Forest Recreation Regulation outlines appropriate use of recreation sites in BC and includes provisions related to the operation of vehicles, safety, pets, duration of stay, firewood, structures and quiet and peaceful enjoyment.
- Forest and Range Practices Act – The Forests and Range Practices Act (section 46) prohibits activities that result in damage to the environment. A person who contravenes section 46 is subject to fines up to $1,000,000 or imprisonment of up to three years (section 87). Sections 54 prohibit the construction or occupation of buildings, trails or other structure on Crown land.
- Heritage Conservation Act – The Heritage Conservation Act encourages and facilitates the protection and conservation of heritage property in British Columbia. Except as authorized by a permit, it is prohibited to damage, desecrate or alter a heritage object in BC. Penalties for destruction or unauthorized disturbance of archaeological sites include imprisonment for up to two years and fines of up to $1,000,000.
- Land Act – The Land Act (section 60) prohibits anyone from doing one of the following:
- Occupying or possessing Crown land without lawful authority;
- Using Crown land without lawful authority;
- Constructing on Crown land a building, structure, enclosure or other works; or
- Abandoning a vehicle or vessel on Crown land.
- Land Use Permission Policy specifies the conditions for which a person may enter, traverse over or be present upon Crown land. Any person may camp on Crown land for up to 14 consecutive calendar days. For the purposes of calculating 14 consecutive days, a period of consecutive days is cumulative unless the person and their vehicle and equipment, as the case may be, are not present on the site for a period of at least 72 consecutive hours. Any non-commercial group may use Crown land. Authorization (a permit) is required for events on Crown land:
- hosted by a commercial group;
- Conflicting with existing authorizations;
- Occuring for more than 72 hours;
- With more than 200 participants for non-motorized activities and equestrian activities; or more than 100 participants for motorized activities; and
- Where fees are charged to participants.
- Off-Road Vehicle Act – The Off-Road Vehicle Act introduced a mandatory registration system for off-road vehicles in BC. The registration system requires off-road vehicle owners to obtain a one-time registration for off-road vehicles through the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia. Off-road vehicle operators may purchase optional liability insurance through ICBC when they register their off-road vehicle. Off-road vehicle operators will require third party liability insurance when operating their off-road vehicle on forest service roads. Please check with your insurance company on the requirements for this third party liability insurance.
- Weed Control Act – The Weed Control Act (section 2) requires occupiers of land and property to control noxious weeds.
- Weed Control Regulation – The Weed Control Regulation designates specific weeds as noxious weeds in the Koocanusa area (Schedule A) and prohibits the movement of any recreational vehicle on a highway that has any noxious weed on it.
- Wildfire Act – The Wildfire Act allows officials to initiate fire bans which restrict or prohibit the lighting, fueling or use of open fires (section 10) or to restrict access to Crown land for a specified period of time to limit the risk of a fire or address public safety concerns (section 11).
- Wildfire Regulation – The Wildfire Regulation (section 20) lays out the circumstances in which a person may light, fuel or use a campfire.
- Wildlife Act – the Wildlife Act allows for the prohibition or restriction of vehicular access for the purpose of protecting wildlife, such as Access Management Areas.
Koocanusa Recreation Steering Committee
- Koocanusa Recreation Strategy updated - May 18, 2021
- Vandals destroy recreation signage in Koocanusa - April 1, 2021
- Feedback sought on draft 2021 Koocanusa Recreation Strategy - March 11, 2021
- Recreation Order - April 8, 2020
- Information Bulletin - Camping, ORV use restricted in Koocanusa area - April 8, 2020
- 2019 Open House News Release - December 2, 2019
- 2019 Open House News Release - November 4, 2019
- News Release - April 3, 2017
- News Release - January 12, 2017
- News Release - February 6, 2015