The pictures I am sending you represent a serious ongoing problem with dirt bikes on private and crown land in the grassland ecosystem.
The backdrop to the problem is twofold: the lack of any meaningful evidence that the Conservation Service and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources enforcement personnel are trying to address the problem; the wealth of information advocating responsible access management on the Overton/Moody Range Unit i.e. the Gilpin Grasslands totally ignored.
Overton/Moody Coordinated Resource Management Plan
Jan. 26, 1978- Grand Forks Ranger Station.
The Overton/Moody Unit is recognized as one of the few most important ungulate winter ranges in the Boundary area. Green Belt purchases provide vivid testimonials to this fact. The value of the wildlife resource is rated high for both consumptive and non-consumptive users.
- Road access in the planned area should not be increased
- -More restrictive options such as road closures may be required if proliferation of access results from the transmission line construction.
District Grasslands are Sensitive Ecosystems August 31, 1994
The Boundary Forest Service with co-operation from local Conservation Officers is seeking cooperation from the public travelling on open grassland hillsides in the district. These ecosystems are valuable habitat and food source for wildlife and range cattle and can be easily destroyed by vehicles.
To Mr. Glen Thompson, District Manager Ministry of Forests, Grand Forks, Dec. 18, 1998 from Les Molner, District Habitat Officer Boundary Forest District
File: Overton-Moody Motor Vehicle Prohibition Regs. (Proposal)
It is our Ministry’s Position that unregulated use of motor vehicles within this area is a threat to habitat and species of concern. The spread of noxious weeds and direct loss of habitat with the myriad of trails, ruts and non-status roads over many years has created a degraded environment for wildlife.
A sign approximately 1 KM north of the Government’s Agent Office in Grand Forks, the location of the Conservation Officer Service was erected April 15, 1992 “by the forest service and asking grassland users to keep to established roads is just one of the measures being taken to save the Overton-Moody grasslands from all terrain and four wheel drive damage”.
I had conservation with a Conservation Officer from Castlegar and asked him if he could arrange a field trip with a young energetic CO and describe/explain what could and should be done to challenge what is literally a free pass for quad and dirt bike stake holders to make their own rules.
At a Jan. 26, 1984 Overton./Moody CRMP meeting the bookends of the Gilpin Grasslands the following quote by rancher, John Mehmal is a lead into a much bigger story that connects with former owner of Advance Orchards, a nursery east of town and on the south side of Highway #3, Garfield Marshall.”John Mehmal recommended that access should be cut and restricted use by the public would contain the knapweed expansion”
Even though we had a civil relationship, Garfield liked to remind me that as long as he lived in Grand Forks “there will be no changes to the management regime on the Gilpin Grasslands as long as I live in Grand Forks”. Bill Barisoff, our former MLA took Garfield’s message to then Minister of Forest and Range, Rich Coleman.
During the 2008 Wildlife Management Area proposal process in Grand Forks the new Quad Bike Club stridently and crudely demanded the process be terminated because most participants at a poorly attended meeting feared responsible access management would challenge their Charter of Freedom rights to use every single road. Garfield was their “go to guy” to send the Quad Bike Club and Mehmal Ranch message to the BC Liberal Cabinet of the day.
The upshot of the pathetic ongoing example of citizenship, the Mehmal family now remains silent and does not complain to the significant damage done to their property which accordingly to recent Tax Assessments totals 414.97 acres in three District Lots because the Quad Bike Club is their big ally in challenging a Wildlife Management Area Designation.
Fred Marshall, a professional Forester and I agreed that we would decide in the near future on a date for a field trip on Gilpin to critique the current logging in the Interior/Douglas Fir Zone. I will subsequently send the necessary information for those interested.
There will be a meeting May 10th 6:30-9:30 PM at Selkirk College to discuss quotes from Freedom of Information letters to strengthen the argument for the removal of cows from the Class A Gilpin Grassland Provincial Park and a Wildlife Management Area Designation for the three bioclimatic Zones that compromise the Gilpin Ungulate Winter Range.
Remember most valleys in BC run north/south and when you have an east/west valley in southern BC like Gilpin you have significant south facing slopes critical to wintering ungulates and many other wildlife species large and small. There are plenty of places for quad/ dirt/ mountain bikes, logging, hunting, ranching but Gilpin’s south facing slopes are a special asset from our creator but to-day management is a metaphor for the greed and irresponsible behavior that dominates resource management.
Barry Brandow Sr.