This past week, many users of the flats were surprised to see someone in an official-looking truck and uniform putting up signs and telling them the flats were being turned into a Provincial park and that they would now have to pay for camping on the flats.
4WDABC President Kim Reeves was on the phone first thing the next morning to seek clarification from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, as the flats have always been crown land. Below is his response.
West Stave Mudflats update.
As many know, the West Stave Lake area received a designation change many years ago to an Interpretive Forest which is kind of like a Provincial Recreation site writ large. This designation change was pursued so that additional regulation of activity could take place and eventually turn this area from a simple Tree Farm (TFL26) to a multi use recreation area.
The 4WDABC has participated and lobbied hard for the interests of motorized users, particularly 4×4 users and access to the mudflats.
The District of Mission is driving much of this process although the true decision maker is Recreation Sites and Trails BC, which is in the Ministry of Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations in the Provincial Government.
The Master Planning Team comprises Mission staff, a Mission Councillor, RCMP, BC Gov Recreation Officer, BC Hydro, Kwantlen First Nation representative, consultants, and me, Kim Reeves, representing the 4WDABC.
A brief history: 2010 Interpretive Forest Designation, 2011 meeting among all stakeholders including recreationists at Zajac Ranch, 2012 public survey of usage in West Stave area, 2013-14 public open houses to solicit public opinion, 2015 Master Plan adoption by Mission Council, 2016-17 planning and construction of recreation sites, 2017 installation of signs on recreation sites and opening some sites to campers.
As the planning team sees it, there are 3 campgrounds in the works right now, as provincial dollars became available to ease the campground shortage. These campgrounds are:
- Kearsley Motorized, which is located at 8 km mark on the west side of the road before Zajac Ranch. This is seen as a staging area for trailered rigs and quads with a campground as well. I have had discussions over the years with Mission and the Province about building an off road driver training area behind this campground as well as lofty goals of building a rock crawling course and maybe a mud drag strip. We are currently planningfor this stuff and if you want to help and have expertise, contact me!
- There is a campground being built immediately to the north of Zajac Ranch and south of Kearsley Creek. This is intended to be an equestrian campground and area which would mean no motorized access south of Kearsley Creek on the foreshore area.
- The third is Rocky Point which will be constructed over the coming year. This area is as yet undesignated, primarily due to our advocacy for continued motorized access to the mud flats.
As of this writing, the province is installing signage for these Recreation Sites.
We still have access to the mudflats and have every right to wheel and camp there. I am eternally hopeful that the powers that be will recognize the fantastic economic potential of keeping motorized access to the flats and embracing it but I am also mindful of the fact that we are really the only motorized voice at the table.
If you support our efforts, please consider joining and adding your voice to our organization as we are nothing without our membership!
Attached are the official Stave West Master Plan, report on the flats from this past May, and the 4WDABC’s response.