Lac Du Bois grasslands being destroyed by irresponsible users

By Chad Klassen
March 7, 2016 - 5:15pm Updated: March 7, 2016 - 6:46pm

KAMLOOPS — While many people enjoy the Lac Du Bois grasslands to hike or take in the scenary, others are enjoying the area at a huge cost to the environment.

Irresponsible drivers of off-road vehicles are tearing up the grasslands, while some gun owners are using Lac Du Bois as a shooting range.

In restricted areas, you can see tire tracks in the mud, empty shell casings, and any other garbage you can think of. it's one of the many eye sores seen in the area. 

WATCH: Full story by Reporter Chad Klassen
 

"There are targets spread throughout the side hill, there are places out there where they've packed beer bottles up the hill and then shot the beer bottles," explains Frank Ritcey from the Kamloops Naturalist Club.

Every weekend, Ritcey says people are breaking the law by driving the backroads and destroying the grasslands. 

"Any place you go out here, you see where the ground's been ripped up and the soil compacted," says Ritcey. "Nothing's going to grow there for a really long time."

Instead of taking the time to go to the landfill, people are driving up to Lac Du Bois and dump their garbage at will, trying to save a few bucks. 

"There are people who bring out building materials, mattresses, you name it. I don't buy into the argument that the tipping fees are too much at the landfill," argues Ritcey. "It's $80 for 1,000 kilograms of household waste. You're going to spend more than $80 dragging 1,000 kilograms of stuff up here."

"Not all the stuff that's dumped is toxic, but some of it is. We've found household cleaner, oil cans, paint, you name it."

And that all comes at a cost, both for people enjoying the area and for the wildlife that lives there. 

"We've got thigns like the big-horned sheep, six varieties of snakes, and a whole host of birds that call the grasslands home. There's also a surprising number of mammals. There are bats out here in the evening, black bears throughout the range out there."

The Kamloops Naturalist Club is concerned for the wildlife and general public. Ritcey is working the ministry of forest, lands and natural resources, oming up with a plan to protect this precious land. 

There is a clean-up scheduled for Sunday, March 20th. If you're interested in taking part, you can contact Frank Ritcey at 250-318-7276.

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