Teck closes its gate to Fort Shepherd

There’s no way into Fort Shepherd now that Teck has shut its gate to the motorized public.

There’s no way into Fort Shepherd now that Teck has shut its gate to the motorized public.

The Trail Wildlife Association (TWA), which manages the property on behalf of the Land Conservancy of British Columbia, recently made the decision to close its gate to protect the conservancy lands and now Teck has followed suit.

“Teck allowed through-access on our land north of the conservancy lands as it is the only road access to the conservancy lands,” explained Catherine Adair, Teck community relations leader. “In support of the Land Conservancy’s decision to close access to the conservancy we have closed the access across the Teck lands.”

This hits close to home for Trail resident Darelyn Stuart, who is just one local who’s frequented the property for over 20 years. She is devastated that she can no longer spend time at Fort Shepherd quadding, visiting and enjoying the outdoors with her family.

“It hurts to know that it’s closed to all of us,” she said.

Stuart is rallying fellow outdoor enthusiasts to join her fight to keep the gate open Thursday, when a group plans to gather at the Teck gate at 4 p.m. to photograph the number of people who are saddened by the news.

She agrees management of the property needs to be tightened but feels this shouldn’t come at a cost to those who use it responsibly.

There is also a real upset from the motorized public who watch others on horseback or foot enjoy the grounds while they remain shut out.

“If we have more surveillance down there then maybe we can catch the people who are destroying the property,” she said. “And it’s not even young kids that are destroying the property, it’s people (adults) driving down there and throwing garbage on the land.”

For the most part, she said riders stick to the trails that have been there for years.

“But when people go and rip up a creek, then it’s understandable, ” she added, “that’s when it’s time to put your foot down.”

Stuart has started a Facebook community forum, “Closing Fort Shepherd Info,” where many ideas and memorable stories are generating. She suggests closing the gate over night and having someone patrol and document license plate numbers during the day.

The land located on the west shore of the Columbia River, across from Waneta, has become a popular playground for off-road enthusiasts.

Use of the area by all-terrain vehicles, motorbikes, and off-road trucks has increased considerably over the past decade.

Though there are signs warning motorists to stick to the main road, some people have ignored access boundaries, and it has resulted in trails, gullies and eroded land, dispersion of noxious weed species and disturbance to wildlife through human intrusion and noise.

The area is closed from December to the beginning of March to preserve ungulate winter range. However, due to an early spring, some people jumped the gun and started trespassing three weeks early. There was evidence of mud bogging, burning donuts and other off-road damage mainly from trucks but also from quads and dirtbikes, according to Rick Fillmore, land use committee chair for TWA.

When the last disturbance was witnessed pre-season, years of misuse were brought to a head.

The property that runs from the first gate down to the Waneta Border Crossing will remain closed until TWA secures grant funding to update its signage, surveillance and possibly a map to better manage the property. The organization would like the cooperation of all off-road vehicle clubs at this time.

Just Posted

Mounties warn about open liquor at Rossland Carnival

They’ll be out there watching for illegal drinking

The Trail Smoke Eaters win in a shootout over Wenatchee Wild

The Trail Smoke Eaters split its two-game series against the Wenatchee Wild on weekend

River rising in Trail

For up-to-date reservoir elevation and river flow information, visit BC Hydro’s website bchydro.com

Former ski champ and MLA’s son hope to open Castlegar cannabis store next month

Felix Belczyk and Ben Conroy are in the approval process for local Spiritleaf outlet

Victorian-era magnate, con artist had Rossland connections

New book explores fascinating history of Whitaker Wright

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

New military armoury opens in Cranbrook

Military presence in the Key City a part of the 44th Engineer Squadron

Most Read