Koocanusa campsites on hold until May 19: MLA
Earlier this month the B.C. provincial government announced all camping and motorized recreation (including the use of off-road vehicles) throughout the entire Koocanusa Recreation Strategy Area was banned until further notice.
The announcement came directly as a result of public concerns voiced by local residents for their health and safety during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
In response, locally-owned campsite operators located within the Koocanusa Recreation Area have all agreed to follow the hard recommendation from local elected officials and remain closed until at least after the Victoria Day long weekend on May 19, or until further notice.
This will have the effect of re-enforcing public health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s direction to stay home and reduce the number of opportunities to spread COVID-19.
Campsite operators have collectively made this decision despite the impact it will have on their individual bottom lines, and I applaud their decision to support Dr. Bonnie Henry.
In the meantime, I will be working with provincial authorities to help alleviate the financial impact on local campsite operators.
As an avid camper myself – and frequent family user of the Koocanusa Recreation Area – I understand how disappointing this is to fellow fans of the campsites, but we do have a higher responsibility to protect our neighbours, friends and families from the danger posed by COVID-19.
This area has very high use of those outside our region. Premature openings of the campsites could have devastating consequences and would set us all back to stage one if we are not careful.
Lead image: A view from Englishmen Creek Campground alongside Lake Koocanusa. e-KNOW file photo
– Tom Shypitka is Kootenay East MLA