While a controversial plan to close access to all except ATVs at a popular lake has been shelved, a wilderness area around Logan Lake remains slated to become a provincial destination for off-road riding.
A draft proposal is expected to go to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources this month for a dedicated 250-kilometre trail network in an around Face Lake, Forge Mountain and Logan Lake.
The plan comes after closure of several grassland areas last year by the ministry to off-road vehicles.
“You have the closure at Tunkwa,” said Randy Spyksma, a contract planner given the job of mapping out potential routes.
“We can’t assume people will go somewhere else and do it well . . . It’s going to happen and we think there are places and we need to manage it.”
But a resident of the area who represents owners at Paska Lake said the concept will focus intensive off-road use on a sensitive, high-elevation area.
“Our position is, it shouldn’t be moved up here, period,” said Colin Saville. “They’re moving a problem from one area to another.”
The three areas comprise an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 hectares. Trails are intended for quads and side-by-side ATVs.
The draft plan prepared by Spkysma would see extensive signage placed on existing trails and forest roads, including at junctions and staging areas.
But the plan has not been without its critics, including within Logan Lake.
The municipality tried in past to craft a plan to allow riding on designated areas to promote tourism. But that was shot down by residents and a bylaw remains in place forbidding riding within the sprawling district municipality.
“I think there’s good points to it,” said Coun. Allan Smith. “Like anything else, you have to be concerned about residents’ concerns.”
Spyksma said two concepts have been shelved and won’t be presented to government: a plan to restrict access to Face Lake, located about 15 kilometres of Logan Lake, to ATVs-only through dedication of the only public road as a trail; and a dedicated ATV route into Logan Lake.
Don Trethewey, past president of Kamloops & District Fish and Game Association, was one of the opponents to the Face Lake ATV-only access. The concept was to provide a unique camping access at the lake for ATV users.
“We would be dead against that change,” said Trethewey. “You’ve got one group of society and others would be excluded — that’s not right.”
Spkysma acknowledged the idea that surfaced at an open house brought a “maelstrom” of opposition, as did the idea to string a trail through Logan Lake.
Noelle Kekula, a recreation officer with B.C. Forest Service, said her goal is to get some signage up late this year, building toward a long-term development program.
She said the area has been analyzed by the ministry, including for its ecological values and sensitivity. She also points to Bear Creek in the Okanagan as a successful designated riding area where motorized recreationists have stuck to signed trails.
“We could walk away from the project and let it go to a free for all. Is that the right thing to do?”
She is also working with the municipality as part of its goal to develop Logan Lake as a provincial destination for ATVs.