Sinclair Mountain cabin contravenes forestry legislation
VICTORIA – An all-terrain vehicle (ATV) trail and cabin on Sinclair Mountain, near Smithers, contravene forest practices legislation, the Forest Practices Board reported today. The board also found the Ministry of Forests and Range did not enforce the legislation appropriately.
These conclusions arose from a board investigation of a September 2004 complaint by a Smithers resident, concerning unauthorized construction of a cabin and ATV trail on the mountain. The trail was built in 1999 and the cabin in 2000. The specific concern was ATV use of the trail in summertime, which conflicts with a local Recreational Access Management Plan (RAMP).
While the RAMP is not legally binding, the cabin and trail were built on Crown land without authorization, which contravenes the former Forest Practices Code, and the ongoing use of the cabin contravenes the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) .
“To have unauthorized trails and buildings on Crown land is contrary to the public interest,” said board chair Bruce Fraser. “The use of the trail in summer is threatening sensitive alpine vegetation, and creates unauthorized access for ATVs to the mountain range, so a prompt government response is required.”
The Ministry of Forests and Range investigated the issue, but was unable to identify the persons responsible for building the cabin and trail. However, the ministry could have restricted access to the trail and cabin, but did not. This allowed the parties responsible for the illegal construction to benefit from their actions.
“The board recommends that government agencies take action to restrict summer ATV access to the trail by August 15, and make a final decision on the future of the cabin by October 1,” said Fraser. “Finally, the board believes that the local forest district should develop a plan by October 1 to minimize any further damage caused by the use of the trail.”
The Forest Practices Board is an independent public watchdog that reports to the public about compliance with FRPA and the achievement of its intent. The board’s main roles under FRPA are:
- Auditing forest practices of government and licence holders on public lands.
- Auditing government enforcement of FRPA.
- Investigating public complaints.
- Undertaking special investigations of forestry issues.
- Participating in administrative appeals.
- Providing reports on board activities, findings and recommendations.
This news release and more information about the board are available on the Forest Practices Board Web site atwww.fpb.gov.bc.ca or by contacting:
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250-356-1586 or 1-800-994-5899
July 6, 2005