A large increase in traffic on Lower Similkameen Indian Band (LSIB) land has prompted a public notice by chief and council. Already, Chief Keith Crow explained, they are seeing out-of-town visitors arrive, trespass across private lands and damage properties while on the hunt for mushrooms. (Keremeos Review file)

Unwelcome visitors on hunt for mushrooms concerning for Lower Similkameen chief

Visitors trespassing, damaging properties, putting community at risk, says Chief Crow

A large increase in traffic on Lower Similkameen Indian Band (LSIB) land has prompted a public notice by chief and council.

Already, Chief Keith Crow explained, they are seeing out-of-town visitors arrive, trespass across private lands and damage properties while on the hunt for mushrooms.

The LSIB’s First Nation police officer has been patrolling several more areas than they normally would, in an attempt to deal with this increase in traffic.

“People have been very rude to my members, and they’re going through members’ private lands, and it’s really frustrating,” said Crow.

Chief and council said these actions, which have re-occurred each year since a large wildfire in 2018, show a complete disregard for the reserve and traditional lands these individuals illegally enter.

In addition to damaging property and trespassing illegally, they said this poses a large risk to their community of around 550.

READ MORE: Land access amid COVID-19 a topic of concern for Penticton Indian Band members

Although some individuals are allowed, through commercial operation, to harvest mushrooms on Crown land, the LSIB explained that all their reserve and traditional lands are closed to the general public during mushroom picking season.

In 2019, the increased traffic escalated to the point where the LSIB deactivated one of their roads.

“Given the current COVID-19 crisis we are experiencing, we would expect that everyone will be mindful of the health concerns they could be bringing into our communities,” read the release by the LSIB.

Crow said he’s been getting calls almost every weekend regarding increased traffic on their reserve. The Ashanola River corridor, he said, has been extremely busy.

“People are cooped up, they just think ‘Oh, we’re just going to go up the hill.’ But everybody’s doing it,” said Crow. “There’s a lot of people going up there that don’t need to be.”

With the long weekend coming up, Crow said he’s worried. Forestry and provincial parks, he explained, remain closed for camping. However, some day-use parks in B.C. will go back into use May 14.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Selected B.C. parks set to open for day use May 14

“The day-use parks are going to open for light traffic, day traffic, but no overnight camping. We’re going to see how that pans out over the long weekend,” he said.

“My fear is, it’s all the people that are coming through,” he added. “We have our campground at the bottom which is still closed, and we have the bathrooms locked, but it doesn’t mean that people aren’t still trying to get in. We’ve been running into issues with people trying to stop at our campgrounds, open the gates… It’s also just the extra traffic I don’t think we need at this time.”

When the LSIB first implemented its campground ban, Crow explained that many people from Vancouver started arriving in town and started shopping at the local store.

“That just adds to the (COVID-19) threat in small towns,” he said. “Because everyone’s trying to stick to the small store, we’re doing our shopping here. It’s just a fear. It’s just a big worry.”

Crow urged people to listen to what Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry is saying.

“She’s saying… we’re going to start slowly moving back into normal, but it’s going to be a new normal. And I hope everyone just tries to stay home and take care of themselves, and I really hope none of my members get this (COVID-19).”

@KeremeosNews
phil.mclachlan@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Summerland once had Old English theme

Design guidelines were introduced in late 1980s

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Crews repair damaged lakefront walkway in Summerland

Flooding in 2017 and 2018 took toll on popular walking path

COVID-19: Keremeos legion reopening with reduced hours

Legion’s treasurer encourages locals to continue their longstanding support during the pandemic

COVID-19 ‘not a death sentence’ says Penticton woman after seeing senior mother recover

Cancer, blindness, a fractured hip, dementia, and COVID-19 not enough to bring Betty Jukes down

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Vancouver Foundation grants benefit Okanagan-Shuswap residents

Grants of up to $500 available for ideas that connect people socially or involve sharing skills

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Water quality advisory rescinded for Central Okanagan system

Turbidity levels improve enough to rescind advisory issued for Killiney Beach system May 11

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

UPDATE: Two sent to hospital following Okanagan highway accident

Drivers in head-on collision air-lifted to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries

Most Read