The Land Conservancy of British Columbia (TLC) opened their Fort Shepherd Conservancy Area to the public for the 2020 season on June 24.
Limited recreational use is permitted including fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and picnicking.
Due to current COVID-19 concerns, TLC requests visitors adhere to the safety protocols recommended by government and the local health authority including wearing face masks to limit spread, sanitizing and washing hands regularly, and maintaining safe physical distancing of six feet (two metres) when greeting other visitors, stewards, or security patrols.
The organization asks that the public stay home and plan to visit at another time if you are experiencing coughing, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, fatigue, or other COVID-19 symptoms.
Fort Shepherd Conservancy Area is 964 hectares of grasslands, dry forests, rocky slopes, cliffs, and caves running along more than eight kilometres of the Columbia River.
Located just six kilometres south of Trail, the area provides habitat to numerous species-at-risk including Great Blue Herons, Nighthawks, Canyon Wrens, Townsend’s Big-Eared Bats and Racer Snakes.
The area also provides a valuable refuge for Mule Deer and Elk.
After repeated violations by vehicles and impacts to the sensitive, protected sections of the property, use of motorized vehicles including off-road vehicles was banned in 2016.
Pedestrians accessing the site are asked to remain on existing trails to allow for the continued rehabilitation of impacted areas.
Horseback riding remains restricted to the main road or Dewdney Trail to minimize the potential for soil disturbance and invasive plant spread.
Access is limited through Teck lands. Teck is allowing access along the main access road only and Teck requests visitors stay on the authorized road and move through to TLC’s property.
No fires, hunting, bicycling, or overnight camping are permitted on site.
Allowing dogs on leash will be permissible on a trial basis and that compliance will ensure dogs are allowed on a more permanent basis.
TLC acknowledges the dedicated stewardship of Fort Shepherd Conservancy Area by local partners including the Indigenous Guardians, Okanagan Nation Alliance, and the Trail Wildlife Association (TWA).
TWA, a volunteer run conservation organization that works to protect, enhance, and encourage the wise use of the environment, oversees local management of the area.