Westerly file photo

Local leaders prepare to crack down on illegal campers around Tofino and Ucluelet

Increased enforcement on patrol this summer

Summer’s sun is slowly making its way out to the West Coast, bringing travellers excited to explore serene landscapes along with it.

Those who fail to book authorized accommodations before they arrive and are expecting to illegally nestle into the backroad wilderness however, will find their peace disturbed by increased enforcement patrols.

“I am proud that the West Coast communities have come together as a unified group to stop unauthorized and destructive backcountry behaviour,” said Tofino mayor Dan Law. “Our region’s natural amenities are a precious shared resource—misuse will no longer be tolerated.”

In a joint statement released last week, representatives from local First Nations as well as Tofino, Ucluelet, the Alberni Clayoquot Regional district and Parks Canada made what’s become an annual plea to visitors not to illegally camp in the region.

“The environmentally friendly and responsible way to camp in the region is to make a reservation at one of the many authorized campgrounds in the area” said Daniel Sailland of the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District. “There are no serviced camping sites on backroads along Kennedy Lake or highway pullouts and there is zero tolerance for unauthorized camping and unauthorized overnight parking within all communities.”

Illegal camping has been especially prevalent over the past two seasons, drawing frustration from residents which boiled over to the point where Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation member Timmy Masso set up a blockade to prevent campers from entering Kennedy Lake.

The statement suggests enforcement patrols will be targeting unauthorized camping within the areas of Clayoquot Arm, along the Kennedy Lake Watershed as well as parking lots and roadways.

“I am privileged to live here, and I hope those visiting show respect to the region in all their actions. We are expecting you to,” said Ucluelet mayor Mayco Noel. Visitors are reminded that the Coast is an immensely popular tourist destination and accommodations, including campsites, fill up quickly, so reservations must be sorted out prior to arrival.

“Backroad ‘living’ puts stress on the environment and local community members. We strongly encourage visitors to come prepared with accommodation when travelling to the West Coast,” said Ucluelet First Nation president Charles McCarthy.



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

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