Reservoir controls draw debate

Ministry of Forests plans for a formal campsite at Grizzly Lake and restricted access around the reservoir

Attempts to protect a reservoir has one politician concerned recreational activities will be diverted.

Director Kevin Acton says the Ministry of Forests’ plans for a formal campsite at Grizzly Lake and restricted access around the reservoir could have a negative impact on other lakes.

“Mudbogging causes some issues but if we don’t allow for recreation in one area, they will find another area,” he told the Regional District of North Okanagan board Wednesday.

RDNO’s Greater Vernon Advisory Committee has had challenges with mudboggers in the Grizzly reservoir and other activities. Among the problems has been ATVs driving on the dam, which could undermine integrity.

The ministry’s plan is to develop 36 campsites at Grizzly Lake, with a camp host present.

“They will make sure people camp in the sites being developed,” said Renee Clark, RDNO’s water quality manager.

The  area would include pit toilets and possibly a designated BMX track.

“The site will encourage families to be there,” said Clark.

“People will not be able to access the lake to mudbog.”

By creating established campsites, the ministry’s full regulations and the ability to deal with offenders comes into effect.

However, Clark admits more needs to be done as people head into the backcountry for recreational pursuits.

“What is the long-term plan for recreation in this area and we haven’t been given that,” she said.

RDNO wants a land lease for the Grizzly dams, spillways and areas that could be flooded if a dam breaches.

About $60,000 is being budgeted for fencing and deactivation of access roads.

“It’s a good step forward to manage our watersheds,” said director Juliette Cunningham.