Warnings were issued Saturday to more than six people caught driving quads off designated routes within the new Garnet Valley closed area between Peachland and Summerland, Highway 97 and Garnet Valley.
Conservation Officer Jim Beck said none were ticketed because they all were cooperative once enforcement staff talked to them about the new closed area, where motor vehicle use is restricted between Jan. 1 and Apr. 30.
The concern is that it’s a well-used mule deer winter and spring grazing area when overwintering deer are particularly vulnerable, Beck explained.
The main north/south road through the area is open to traffic, but many illegal roads and trails are now closed, and the closure will be enforced, he said.
Unfortunately, he said, he just missed a truck that had been mud bogging in a pit in the Peachland area, and he discovered a new spot where vehicles had been tearing up a wetland where whitetail deer gather.
Someone else removed the gate into the area off Highway 97 near the Greata Ranch, but that was replaced with the assistance of a member of the Summerland Sportsman’s Association he said.
Beck said with the fine weather, it was pretty busy in the Garnet Valley area on the weekend, but he said lots of people were behaving themselves.
Some of those who were stopped illegally driving off the main road said they didn’t see the signs, and Beck noted it’s difficult to determine whether such comments are truthful or not.
“Signs are only so effective. Word of mouth will eventually get the information out there,” he commented.
Plans are to increase the number and the size of signs warning drivers and riders of the new restrictions in the area, said Beck.
Officers were out and about the remainder of the long weekend, patrolling other areas as well, but none could be reached for information by deadline Monday.