The old airstrip, on route to Tata Creek, is now the home to at least 10 firepits. Some of which are literally feet away from their neighboring pits. What once was a single lane, dirt road, has become an arrangement of corduroy ruts laid across the landscape. Vehicles of all shapes and sizes are exercising their prowess under the heavy feet of some drivers that are choosing to rip through the sensitive landscape which is home to species at risk, a wintering ground for elk, and home to numerous other animals and birds. It is simply a beautiful stretch of earth in the spring as it cycles through wildflowers like the crocus and the lupine that stretch up towards the incredible view of the Rocky Mountain Range.
Since Covid the old aristrip has seen a distinct increase in traffic with partiers leaving their cans, smashed bottles, toilet paper, chip bags and other debris. Recently a huge tree was chainsawed down close to a fire pit ring surrounded by the telltale signs of inebriated people. Some trucks, dirt bikes, and quads are carving out their presence off the designated roads and some people looking for a peaceful traipse across the land are being impacted with the sound of brap brap brap screaming by.
The number of fire pits has increased as everyone is trying to find their ‘own spot’. Some with rings, some well established, others right up against the treeline. This is a serious concern as our summer approaches. Fires left unattended, not put out correctly, or that burn so hot they remain burning long after users are gone, are all major concerns for everything that lives in the Kootenays.
When people make irresponsible choices that impact the landscape it directly affects the land, the creatures, and the plants that need the land, in order to survive. The Crown land that we visit should not be a place where we play hard and abuse. It should be respected as our home.
We are lucky enough to live in a place where these gorgeous landscapes exist and we have the freedom to explore and recreate with few parameters. I would like to encourage folks to tread gently on the spaces in which we play, for the integrity of the land and the creatures that inhabit the spaces, and so all people can enjoy the Old Air Strip for years to come.
For information on crown land and how it can used and by whom, call RAPP 1-877-952-7277 You can report an incident online https://forms.gov.bc.ca/environment/rapp/ and to report a fire call 1-800-663-5555