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Communities on Island's west coast promise crackdown on illegal camping


After experiencing an "unacceptably high level" of illegal and backroad camping over the last two summers, communities on Vancouver Island's west coast are collectively urging visitors to make reservations and only stay at authorized campgrounds.

Representatives from the districts of Tofino and Ucluelet, the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District, local First Nations and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve issued a joint statement last week calling on campers to stop their "disrespectful behaviour."

“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, chief administrative officer of the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District, in the release.

“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.”

The communities say illegal camping "has had a negative impact" on Indigenous lands and surrounding ecological areas, as well as increasing wildfire risk and putting first responders in danger.

"To help limit the impact on this region, increased patrols and enforcement in 2022 will target dispersed and unauthorized camping within the areas of the Clayoquot Arm, along the Kennedy Lake Watershed, within Tla-o-qui-aht, Yuułuʔiłʔath, and Toquaht traditional territories, on municipal streets/lots, and within BC Parks and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve," the joint statement reads.

The communities note that available reservations at west coast campgrounds tend to become fully booked quickly, and they advise campers who don't have a reservation to find alternative accommodations or delay their trips.

“Backroad 'living' puts stress on the environment and local community members," said Charles McCarthy, president of the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government.

"We strongly encourage visitors to come prepared with accommodation when travelling to the west coast.” Top Stories

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