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Feb 10 2006
Off-road vehicles users demand say in watershed use

By Marshall Jones Staff reporter

If the drinking water for 13,000 people on the Westside is going to be protected, it will have to be done in partnership, says the president of the Okanagan Trail Riders association.
Ken Umbarger was feeling the heat just a few weeks ago when the Lakeview Irrigation District called on the provincial government to enforce restrictions off-road vehicles use in the watershed known as Lambly Creek area. Manager James Moller wrote directly to Rick Thorpe, MLA for Okanagan Westside to complain, saying he felt the problem was unregistered riders not part of the OTR group.

It appears Thorpe has had a calming influence after meeting with both sides and getting them to meet again Umbarger says he understands the LID’s position a little better now.
“I think James Moller is interested in protecting the watershed and that is his job. That’s OK because we are interested in protecting it as well” Umbarger said.

Members of the Trail Riders Association say they are being restricted from more and more places in the valley and this is one they don’t want to let go of. They are trying to mitigate the environmental impression caused.

But Umbarger says he wants to make sure priorities are in place and one of his highest has little to do with land degradation.

“One of our biggest concerns is to make sure that riding doesn’t occur inappropriately on Bear Lake Main because we do not want to see a fatality.” He says.

“That is where the logging trucks come racing up and down and we have had reason to believe that unless some enforcement occurs there will be an accident.”

OTR was also one of several trail riders groups across the province attempting to push a new policy on the provincial Liberal government to have all riders registered and licensed and enforced.

He said Thorpe refused to commit to their policy document.

© Copyright 2006 Kelowna Capital News



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