You would think that with a province so vast and heavily forested with dozens of lakes and rivers that you would be able to traverse anywhere you wanted to go…Not so.
Locked gates, signed private property, fenced off parcels of land, user fees and other obstacles stand in your way of just roaming around.
Green party leader Andrew Weaver wants to make it easier for B.C.er’s to get out and enjoy beautiful B.C. Whether it be for hunting, fishing or just hiking around. Weaver has introduced the Roaming Act into the legislature that would put a stop to the practice of blocking access.
Weaver noted we are increasingly being fenced out of the provinces wild lands. He says it is a public right to be able to head out and explore and that right must be protected. Free public access to the outdoors is vital to peoples health and well being. And it’s also vital to the environment. Weaver points out people protect what they value, but we are becoming increasingly disconnected to our overall wild environment.
In a lot of this province the only access to the back country are logging roads, public back roads or across private property. There is a growing trend to lock people out by landowners and forestry companies. In some cases people are being arrested for trespassing as they walk to public lakes they have fished for generations.
The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club is a non-profit group dedicated to preservation and management of habitat and wildlife and have spent years in a legal battle with property owners of the Douglas Lake Ranch over the right of the public to fish in near-by lakes.
Weaver’s Right to Roam Act aims to prevent conflicts like what is happening at Douglas Ranch. The Green Leader says nature in B.C. should be open to all not just a privileged few.
Weaver legislation is based on that found in Nova Scotia.
Weaver adds his act allowing people to cross uncultivated wild land to access public lands, rivers and lakes re-establishes the public’s right to access places of outdoor recreation.