District of Sicamous council wants ATVs to be exempt from a motor vehicle prohibition area on Owlhead Forest Service Road. (File photo)

District of Sicamous council wants ATVs to be exempt from a motor vehicle prohibition area on Owlhead Forest Service Road. (File photo)

Sicamous council wants ATVs exempt from prohibition in areas closed for wildfire recovery

Council successfully got an exemption for snowmobiles this winter

Now that it’s been assured snowmobiles can use the Owlhead Forest Service Road this winter, Sicamous council wants to ensure ATVs can be used on the road when the snow’s gone.

At council’s Jan. 12 meeting, a motion was passed to write a letter to B.C.’s Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development to request an exemption from the motor vehicle prohibition put in place near Sicamous due to the Two Mile Road wildfire.

Council wants the exemption in place so ATVs, dirtbikes and similar off-road vehicles can use the Owlhead Forest Service Road.

Coun. Gord Bushell said the letter council wrote asking for an exemption for the Eagle Valley Snowmobile Club was successful and good for Sicamous’ economy this winter.

He said he’d like to do the same thing for the quadding industry and the Shuswap Backcountry Riders group.

In October 2021 the province put into effect 15 motor-vehicle closures under the Motor Vehicle Prohibition Regulation of the Wildlife Act.

The closures, affecting backcountry roads across approximately 536,000 hectares, were in response to several concerns including: wildfire impact to habitats that need time to recover; erosion of charred soils and impacts to fish habitat; increased vulnerability of wildlife; habitat loss; and increased access to wildlife habitat due to the construction of approximately 2,900 kilometres of fire guards.

The closures applied to all motorized vehicles, including automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, motorhomes, electric bikes and all types of off-road recreational vehicles, including snowmobiles.

Read more: New backcountry road closures in Okanagan, Kootenays aim to aid wildlife recovery

Read more: Sled Sicamous kicks off 2022 by raffling off two snowmobiles


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