A woodland meadow with a pond in one corner was destroyed by young people driving through it with trucks and cars August 25 and five young people from West Kelowna have been fined for causing damage to the environment.
Each was fined $575 for the afternoon of mud bogging reports Conservation Officer Mike Stern, who said the wildlife meadow is located out of Peachland in the Glen Lake area.
Although Mother Nature will have to do the remediation work to the meadow and wetland that were damaged, Stern said the boys offered to do some cleanup work on an old cabin in the area that vandals have filled with garbage.
“Most often those involved in mud bogging activities are not as cooperative,” he commented, adding, “so it was encouraging.”
After he interviewed the teenagers involved, he said he felt they were actually unaware of the environmental impact of their actions, and they were remorseful, so he opted to go the route of a ticket and a fine instead of charges, which would have to be dealt with in court.
Stern said they received a report from someone who saw the vehicles, covered in mud, leaving the area, then a later tip with the address where a muddy vehicle was located in Glenrosa.
He found the others involved by monitoring Facebook and other social media, which he noted is a warning to all young people to be aware of what they post to such sites.
The meadow and wetland are well-used by deer and moose as well as other wildlife and it will be at least a year before some of the damage is repaired, he said.
This is the first time that spot has sustained such major damage in a mud bogging incident, he noted.
Overall, he said mud bogging is decreasing through education and enforcement the past few years, because more people are realizing the damage it causes and the penalties there are now.
There have also been some isolated incidents such as in the Chute Lake area where two ATV drivers were fined earlier in the year.
“Wetlands in the (dry) Okanagan are too important not to protect, so we enforce the regulations,” he commented.