Defuse a sometimes over-heated debate

What can sometimes be a heated, controversial situation could be resolved peacefully with a little respect, co-operation and understanding, such as that encouraged by the B.C. Wildlife Federation’s new Outdoor Passport program.

What can sometimes be a heated, controversial situation could be resolved peacefully with a little respect, co-operation and understanding, such as that encouraged by the B.C. Wildlife Federation’s new Outdoor Passport program.

All too frequently, owners of large parcels of land face the mess left by trespassers who vandalize outbuildings, devastate valuable grasslands, destroy fencing and access roads and sometimes maim, kill or steal livestock.

Such vandals and thieves could be stopped in their tracks by a legitimate, permitted outdoors person using that property with the landowner’s permission, on the understanding that a certain code of ethics and a set of conditions will be followed.

Those people who carry the Outdoors Passport and access the private property with the written consent of the owner, could act as the owner’s eyes and ears on parts of the property far from the owner’s home, reporting such incidents immediately.

At the same time, if the landowner is raising or storing crops with which to feed livestock or to sell, and finding constant losses due to feeding by wildlife, then a cull of the herd or the flock by a hunter could save the land owner his investment, while providing a new opportunity for the hunter.

Or, it could be an angler unable to access a creek, river, pond or lake without crossing private property, who gains that access by taking the online orientation for the Outdoor Passport, then writing a test to achieve the identity card.

That card can then be taken to a landowner, along with a form detailing access conditions which both the landowner and passport holder would agree to and sign.

The landowner then becomes eligible for free additional insurance coverage through the BCWF.

Passport fees paid by the users help pay for that extra liability coverage.

Whether or not this new initiative of the BCWF works will depend entirely on how sincerely both passport holders and landowners embrace the idea.

However, it’s not a new idea. Other provinces, including Alberta have already instituted similar programs, except elsewhere it’s government that’s taken the initiative rather than a non-profit society.

The idea certainly has great potential to defuse what is currently sometimes a pretty heated issue between outdoors enthusiasts and landowners.

I can see the possibility of such a system being implemented too where traditional hiking trails (or historic rail lines) cross private land, or even where private property abuts such public linear hiking or cycling trails.

If the users had to take a quick course to gain an understanding of the issues, commit to being respectful and are given permission to cross certain lands, perhaps the landowners would find less vandalism and would be more accepting of such use of their land.

In Alberta, they call it an access management partnership and they’ve found that it’s mutually beneficial.

And, it kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?

Can we make it work? Let’s give it a chance.

Judie Steeves writes about outdoors issues for the Capital News.

Kelowna Capital News

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

Danny Fulton receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 27. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Drop-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic planned for Kelowna

Clinic at Kelowna Secondary School from June 22 to 24 from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read