Brilliant Flats closed to motorized vehicles after mud-bogging damage

A group of concerned citizens looking for government action at the Brilliant Flats gathered recently for a walk of the area. Photo: Jennifer SmallA group of concerned citizens looking for government action at the Brilliant Flats gathered recently for a walk of the area. Photo: Jennifer Small
Carley Dolmen cleaning up garbage at the site. Photo: Jennifer SmallCarley Dolmen cleaning up garbage at the site. Photo: Jennifer Small
Selkirk College Recreation Fish and Wildlife student Layton Bambrough surveying damage caused by mud bogging at Brilliant Flats. Photo: Jennifer SmallSelkirk College Recreation Fish and Wildlife student Layton Bambrough surveying damage caused by mud bogging at Brilliant Flats. Photo: Jennifer Small
Conservation officers at the site of the new barriers and signage at the Brilliant Flats. Photo: Jennifer SmallConservation officers at the site of the new barriers and signage at the Brilliant Flats. Photo: Jennifer Small
Brilliant Flats is located at the confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers. Photo: Jennifer SmallBrilliant Flats is located at the confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers. Photo: Jennifer Small

Neighbours, conservationists, stakeholders and First Nations are rejoicing after a provincial government announcement Friday closed the kp’itl’els/Brilliant Flats to motorized traffic including off-road vehicles.

The prohibition went into effect immediately with conservation officers and government representatives placing cement barriers at the entrance to the area. However, the area will remain open for non-motorized activities.

kp’itl’els/Brilliant Flats is located at the confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers near Castlegar. It includes sensitive ecosystems, endangered camas plants and is an important site for First Nations.

Complaints have been accumulating in recent years, especially in the spring when the area becomes a popular spot for mud bogging and ATV usage — leaving behind deep ruts and disturbed vegetation. Other abuses in the area include camping, squatting and garbage dumping.

According to the Confederated Tribes of Colville and the Sinixt Confederacy, the area is of tremendous cultural, ecological, and archaeological significance to the Sn̓ʕay̓ckstx (Sinixt) people and was the ancestral home and burial site of the Christian family for countless generations. It is considered a sacred cultural site.

In a statement calling for action the Confederacy states, “Can you imagine ‘mud boggers’ in the cemetery where your family is laid to rest?”

The group is also calling for the site to be protected under the BC Heritage Conservation Act.

Some users have expressed concern about the decision however, citing that blocking all motorized vehicles limits access to the area for seniors and others with mobility issues. The spot is one of the few locations in the region that someone could actually drive all the way up to the riverbank and access it for fishing or picnicking.

The province says the new restrictions will help prevent environmental damage and ensure environmental protection concerns are addressed.

The restrictions have been implemented in partnership with the BC Conservation Officer Service, the RCMP and the Regional District of Central Kootenay.

“There have been growing concerns in recent years about unauthorized mud bogging (i.e., operating or racing off-road vehicles in wet earth or mud) on Crown land at kp’itl’els/Brilliant Flats and its associated impacts on the land and the environment,” said the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources in a March 12 press release.

The ministry says the specific stewardship concerns due to mud bogging and related activities include:

• water and soil contamination

• damage to forest and rangeland habitat

• public safety

• impacts on archaeological and cultural resources

• damage to recreational infrastructure

• displacement of wildlife

• lack of sanitation and garbage facilities

The restrictions will be enforced by natural resource officers, conservation officers and the RCMP, who will conduct regular patrols and educate the public at access points into the area.

The province says the restrictions for the area align with the partnership goals of the B.C. government and the Regional District of Central Kootenay to work together to engage with the public and First Nations, and to undertake a long-term planning process for the protection, stewardship and management of the site.

READ MORE: Nakusp woman recalls harrowing escape from flash flood



betsy.kline@castlegarnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Columbia RiverEnvironmentFirst Nations

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in the Kootenays. Illustration: BC Centre for Disease Control
Highest weekly number of new COVID-19 cases in 2021 for Nelson

The Nelson local health area had 13 new cases in early April

ANKORS held a small demonstration outside Nelson City Hall and the courthouse Wednesday to mark the five-year anniversary of the province declaring the toxic drug supply crisis. Photo: Tyler Harper
‘We’re all supposed to take care of each other’: 5 years of toxic drug supply crisis marked in Nelson

Over 7,000 people have died in B.C. since the crisis was announced in 2016

An Interior Health nurse administers Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
105 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

Just over 8,000 new vaccine doses administered in the region for a total of 158,000 to date

School District 8 says a COVID-19 exposure has occurred at Nelson’s Rosemont Elementary. Photo: School District 8
Class at Nelson’s Rosemont Elementary in isolation after COVID-19 exposure

It’s not clear if any students or teachers were infected

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including South Surrey’s Pacific Highway should ‘not be left behind’

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversay of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

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

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

A screenshot from a Nuu-chah-nulth healing song and performance created in collaboration between Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso. (Screenshot from YouTube)
VIDEO: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation brothers produce COVID-19 healing song

Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso share dance and inspiration.

Most Read