(1) 250.472.8528
andrew.weaver.mla@leg.bc.ca

Today in the legislature I introduced a private member’s bill entitled Bill M223 — Right to Roam Act. This Bill reestablishes the rights of British Columbians to access public lands, rivers, streams, and lakes, and to use these spaces to fish, hike and enjoy outdoor recreation.

Increasingly, British Columbians are being fenced out of wild areas that have been enjoyed by the public for generations. One particularly high profile example involves public access to Minnie, Stoney and other lakes surrounded by Douglas Lake Ranch spread out over more than 500,000 acres. Approximately 365,000 acres are already crown land with full public access.  But concern over access to several lakes was raised when Stoney Lake Road was suddenly gated in the late 1970s and subsequently locked in the early 1980s.

Below I reproduce the text and video of the speech I gave as I introduced the bill. I also include the accompanying media release.


Text of my Introduction


A. Weaver: I move that a bill intituled the Right to Roam Act, 2017, of which notice has been given, be introduced and read a first time now.

Motion approved.

A. Weaver: I’m pleased to be introducing a bill intituled the Right to Roam Act, 2017.

The ability to access and experience nature is a right for all British Columbians, and we must protect it. This bill will re-establish the rights of British Columbians to access public lands, rivers, streams and lakes and to use these spaces to fish, hike and enjoy outdoor recreation.

Hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation are a pivotal part of British Columbia’s heritage and form an important part of the fabric of present-day life in British Columbia. They are also vital to the understanding, conservation and management of fish and wildlife in our province.

Increasingly, however, British Columbians are being fenced out of wild areas that have been enjoyed by the public for generations.

One particularly high profile example involved public access to Minnie, Stoney and other lakes surrounded by Douglas Lake Ranch, spread out over more than 500,000 acres. Public access was prevented when Stoney Lake Road was suddenly gated in the 1970s and subsequently locked in the 1980s. This bill, which is built on a combination of B.C.’s existing Hunting and Fishing Heritage Act and Nova Scotia’s Angling Act, aims to address and prevent such conflicts.

I move that the bill be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.

Bill M223, Right to Roam Act, 2017, introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.


Video of my Introduction



Media Release


Weaver introduces Right to Roam Act
For immediate release
February 27th, 2017

VICTORIA B.C. – Locked gates on back roads are increasingly restricting access to wild lands in the province, making it harder for outdoors people to go hunting, fishing or hiking. A new bill tabled Monday by Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party, would put a stop to that practice.

“British Columbians are increasingly being fenced out of the province’s wild lands. The ability to access and experience nature is a public right, and we must protect it,” says Weaver, who is the MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head. “Free public access to the outdoors is vital to people’s health and well-being, but it is also vital to the health and well-being of our environment. People protect what they know and love. If we become disconnected from our environment we risk disengaging with the fight for its future.”

In many regions of the province, the only way to access wild Crown lands is via logging roads, public back roads, or across privately owned forests and uncultivated areas. While casual public use of these accessways has not been an issue in the past, there is a growing trend of neighbouring landowners and forestry companies locking people out. Some are building fences and installing locked gates to block access altogether, others are implementing strict schedules or access fees. In extreme cases, British Columbians are getting arrested for trespassing while walking to public lakes they have been fishing for generations.

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club, a non-profit association dedicated to the local preservation and management of habitat and wildlife, for example, has spent years in a legal battle with the owner of the Douglas Lake Ranch over the public right to fish in public lakes..

“The Right to Roam Act aims to address and prevent conflicts like the Douglas Lake Ranch case. Nature in British Columbia should be open to all, not to just the privileged few,” says Weaver.

This Act was built off the existing BC Hunting and Fishing Heritage Act and the Nova Scotia Angling Act. It includes a few additional amendments, made with reference to a UVic Environmental Law Clinic report about enhancing public access to wild lands.

“By allowing people to cross uncultivated wild land to access public lands, rivers, streams, and lakes, the Right to Roam Act aims to re-establish the rights of British Columbians and to use these spaces to fish, hike and enjoy outdoor recreation.”

– 30 –

Media contact
Mat Wright, Press Secretary
+1 250-216-3382 | mat.wright@leg.bc.ca

84 Comments

  1. Lisbeth Staschuk-Reply
    August 3, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    Sorry but I am totally against this proposal. As an agricultural land OWNER (not lessee), we have a stream that crosses through our property. We constantly have trespassers leaving garbage, used needles, beer bottles/cans, and destroying trees. We have cattle and horses, and gates are being left open with regularity. I don’t want anyone on our property that isn’t invited. Our creek is a spawning ground, and neighbours steal rocks from the creek bed and shore. It is reduced to a trickle in summer and a raging stream in winter. My sign says it all. KEEP OUT.

  2. Arlene-Reply
    July 14, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    Ranchers pay the government to rent Crown Land, it is then considered private land. Gates and fences are installed to keep cattle in certain pastures on the crown land so the land is not overgrazed. Cattle are moved from pasture to pasture when they go out in the spring and are brought home the same way. People cut fences, drive through gates, destroy the land. We pay for private land for valid reasons and if you want to hike, fish,camp etc. Go to public parks, There are many public areas stay out of private areas. People think they have the right to do as they please and unfortunately nut jobs encourage this behaviour. If you are on crown land and get attacked by our bull or chased by our cows or even worse get attacked by a wild animal, you asked for it, don’t look for my sympathy. Animals have rights to, stop trampling on their rights.

  3. Frederic-Reply
    July 10, 2017 at 9:27 am

    As a private forest landowner and one who likes to fish and “roam” over other land I think the bill needs a bit of fine tuning.
    1. Not allow commercial activities or hunting on private land without the consent of the landowner. We don’t want guided hunting and fishing excursions going willy nilly over private property. Or pay per use adventure guides using private land for their commercial gain.
    2. “roaming” on private land should be limited to crossing the property to reach crown land (and lakes, rivers). Otherwise people will assume it means camping, squatting, building trails, etc.
    3. Alternation of the land is not allowed. I.e. no trail building.

    • July 10, 2017 at 6:20 pm

      I agree. We need to consult more thoroughly on the legislation to ensure this is reflected.

  4. Ryan shaw-Reply
    July 7, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    This is the best bill that has come from our government in years. And to the naysayers, I live on Vancouver island and the southern half of the island is all private forest land given to island timberlands and timber west. So if I go into the forest I am trespassing and can be charged. If this bill does not go thru, eventually this will be the case in the whole province. And that is not good for anyone.

  5. Garnet-Reply
    July 4, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    I believe both sides have good things to say, I’ll briefly attempt to address both pro and con. To the naysayers: I believe that in the past we have seen unnecessary mischief, vandalism, or general disrespect and abuse of both the environment and people’s property, the freedom to roam isn’t about letting people onto our private 5% it’s about the 95% that is the peoples, for the enjoyment and use of all.

    To the uninitiated the first instinct is to fear the unknown, be it the simple darkness, insects, vermin, game or predators large and small. Ignorance and lack of use have caused newer generations to not interact with, nor even understand the primal forces of nature, which serve as both enemy and friend to our citizens. People looking to get away find themselves alone in the wilderness, no one around for miles, and unobserved or without respect for the inhabitants, the local wildlife or the land around them, they misuse, or destroy.

    Understanding, and nurturing those who have an affinity to respect or care for nature, bringing the uninitiated out into the wilderness, giving them the knowledge to survive, respect, and enjoy the beauty / bounty of nature means that there are people out there actively preventing destruction of land and possessions, encouraging responsible use of local flora and fauna, and failing all else, witnessing, reporting, and giving appropriate authorities the ability to enforce, evidence, and remedy crimes against nature, the land, the people’s rights, and ultimately the planet itself.

    To those on board, it is important to understand that the way the situation is now, the naysayers are correct, enacting legislation to “open the floodgates” as it were would only be harmful, at the moment. There is mention of employing COs, conservation officers are about enforcement, men and women willing to potentially put their lives on the line to protect and preserve our natural lands, they can not handle the job, it would be much like assigning two eight-year-olds “hall monitor,” to maintain a school the size of west edmonton mall. Another important consideration, the enforcement arm should not have the power of investigation, if enforcement feels threatened in their continued employment they may be tempted to ‘investigate,’ and ‘uncover’ make work.

    The duties of a conservation officer are to track and audit wildlife stocks, they are not out there looking for criminals, they are busy with their clients, the wildlife, flora, and works or projects to preserve or restore animal and local plant stocks. Their duties to their bosses (the people and the directing governmental body) are only fulfilled if complaints from conscientious citizens (nature advocates), responsible nature users and proponents of conservation (citizens familiar with appropriate harvesting numbers and able to spot intentional misuse or illegal overharvesting.) People need to be out there to OBSERVE, no access no people, no people no knowledge, no knowledge no respect, no respect equates to fear, misuse, greed, overuse, and destruction.

    Employ a small committee of perhaps 12 to 20 conservation officers, the mandate of this committee would be specifically to design and implement a curriculum and offer free training and testing to various bondable citizens possessing demonstrable aptitude, and a stated intent or noted desire to repair, improve, steward, and enjoy the crown lands to act as trainers, teachers, and guides for an ever expanding cross section of underprivileged, burdened, responsible, teen to adult citizens growing up without knowledge of nature, nor adequate resources to complete a post secondary education.

    Offering employment within the public sector, and providing knowledge and awareness: to safely enjoy public lands, keep an educated eye out for the uninformed, and identify willful miscreants, and most importantly return due care, and a chance for regrowth to revitalize and restore the much put upon planet,that after all was kind enough to provide us with life, heat, clean water, and the opportunity to dig ourselves out of our mud holes, and be the best evolution of humanity that we can be.

    For those entities, (private forestry companies, private landowners) who own or maintain (IE own the land, but through the public right of way needs to provide access to citizens, a subsidy program would need to be created and maintained, to provide 100% insurance coverage and legal defense to insure no loss is incurred as a result of mandated access. Where gates are employed, the cost would be covered to provide a gate with electronic card reader (electronic signal sniffer), the entrant would be required to swipe his Driver’s License or BC ID, the data would be compressed, encrypted, and transmitted via satellite until retrieved by the provincial data store, and only then decrypted and decompressed, providing maximum data security and minimize tampering potential. In the event someone were to cut down / disable / disarm the gate in some way, the sniffer would read any RFIDs in the perpetrators possession, this electronic fingerprint would display any bank cards in their possession, cellular or bluetooth data watches, digital cameras, or bluetooth accessories in the perpetrators vehicle
    . This offers transparency, the disruption to quiet enjoyment is minimized, however any sort of access through the gate would leave an electronic fingerprint. Discouraging disrespectful behavior while simultaneously offering peace of mind for those forced to accept passers-by.

    I noticed several concerns or complaints with mud boggin, dirt bike and atv enthusiasts, rather than condemn them for wanting to chew up dirt and burn off their tires, having locations for those enthusiasts to play would stop the unwanted soil damage / erosion / in addition through the electronic gate systems a series of user fees could be used to compensate those willing to open up mud parks, atv, and dirt bike courses. Perhaps a small percentage of the provincial park user fees, (the tofino area daily user fees for provincial park usage as an example. As an example say the fee is $19 per day, perhaps $5 of that could be awarded as an incentive to the landowner for attraction maintenance.

    In conclusion, society, and the current attitude, make legislation of this bill inappropriate at this time, the bill IS, I feel an absolute necessity, but before we sign on the dotted line, we could perform some due diligence, and take steps to ensure responsible, mature use of the land and its resources, is at the very least encouraged, ideally rewarded.

  6. William Jackson-Reply
    July 3, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Right to Roam would be better for the wilderness and also easier to accept, if it limited the roads open to vehicles and left the rest to non-motorized access.
    As a minimum, we should restrict motorized access to areas adjoining parks, areas that serve as wildlife corridors etc.
    Broader restriction would be better.

  7. bob cecil-Reply
    July 3, 2017 at 3:27 am

    The gate systems you have here in BC are completely ridiculous. I moved out here from Ontario in 2001 , you can travel anywhere ( which I did hunting and fishing for 40 years ) in that much larger province and public or privately owned Timer companies lands and NEVER see a gate anywhere.

  8. Willow-Reply
    July 1, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    How can I help with this? I am scared the future generation, one that is already slipping into the grips of technology, needs to have access to places of respite in nature like no other. And in my town one of those places has just been usurped by the forest company selling land to private owners and now we do not have access to places that have been used by the people of my city for hundreds of years. The right to roam is really needed so youth can learn how to grow up and be stewards of our precious lands.

  9. James Ward-Reply
    June 22, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Right to roam? More like right to ruin. Take a look at any public park, the garbage, needles, vandalism. The slobs are not only restricted to town, visit any Forest Service Site and look at the garbage. The problem is not lack of access it’s a lack of respect from the yahoo’s who think mud bogging and tearing up the land is fun. My suggestion would be hiring A LOT MORE C.O.’s to enforce the existing legislation and, if the situation improves, then consider improving access.

  10. brian-Reply
    March 7, 2017 at 11:28 am

    You supporters of this concept need to give your heads a bashing against a large tree.( whoops there are no large trees left in this province) Wake and clue in.

    I’d expect such a proposal from the far right for the opportunity to rape and pillage all in the name of financial gain but coming out of the Green party is absurd.
    Fact – only 5% of BC is private property of which most is in the cities.
    Fact – private property is just that- private and the owner has 100% decision making. They bought it and pay taxes on it.
    Fact- the fish, wildlife, and recreational resources of this province are in a pathetic state with populations declining everywhere and lands being ripped up by so called recreationalist – root word – wreck. That’s the condition of the other 95% of the province.

    How about focusing on the majority and leaving the 5% to manage their land in a more environmentally responsible way.
    When the government leads by example and cleans up the mess on crown land then is the time to expect the 5% to follow suite.

    I suspect most that would support such a concept are either City people or non-property owners.

    As a rural property owner of acreage, I and my neighbors experience first hand the attitude of those that think they have the right to roam where ever their 4X4 can go, where ever their ATV, dirt bike, mountain bike, or snowmobile can get to.
    When confronted with gates, fences, and signs it is a simple matter of pulling out the chainsaw, the winch, the wire cutters, or a large hammer.
    When was the last time anyone of you saw a sign in rural BC that said “private property – no trespass” and actually turned around. Not a chance – the vehicle keeps going until a gate is in the way. then many pull out the tools. Lets stop denying reality.

    Take a look out your back window and ask yourself – would I accept my neighbors dog shitting in my yard every day? Would I say nothing when the kid next door ripped up my garden with his dirt bike? Would I accept my neighbors party spilling into my property with all the junk and bottles left behind? Would I not be concerned when the neighbor decided to have a bonfire in my yard in the middle of a summer heat spell? Would you drink the creek water ( the rural property owners water supply) knowing that humans and dogs are crapping upstream.
    How about that gun that goes off at 0600hrs and the gut pile left beside the road on your property. Would you accept your gate, fence, or sign being destroyed every time someone decides they have the right to roam in your backyard.
    Fact – there are some responsible recreationalist out there but they are tarred with the same brush as the worst of them. This is a proven concept of the lowest common denominator taking precedent over the few anomalies. Sorry but only you can fix this problem by becoming the majority.
    Rural property owners purchase their land for their peaceful enjoyment and their right to such is entrenched in the Criminal Code of Canada.

    To suggest that if we allow public use of every square inch of the province is the way to save the great outdoors is preposterous. People are the problem not the solution. Fish, wildlife, ecosystems, and habitat do not need our help they need us to leave them along so they can function. The demise of the great outdoors is directly correlated to the number of people using ( abusing) it. If this wasn’t the case you won’t have to leave your concrete jungle every weekend.

    Next time you’re out enjoying the great outdoors stop and smell the roses – it smells like vehicle exhaust, Stop and look at the scenery – it looks like a mudbogging pit, stop and listen to the birds- it sounds like a 2 stroke engine reving at 7,000rpm with a “tuned” pipe. Stop and look at the erosion, the ruts, the garbage, the wrecked landscape, the vehicle tracks through the wetlands and streams, the – the – the – the.
    Then ask yourself WTF – then go away and do something good about it.
    Start by not voting Green as this proposal is an insult to the generic concept of “green” and is nothing more then a feeble attempt to gain some votes from those that live in the concrete jungle.

    Rural property owners, be they seasonal properties, farmers, or just people that want to live a lifestyle choice are the only ones saving any part of this province.

    If you must roam try roaming in your neighbors yard and try inviting the world to roam in your backyard. I’m sure all the supporters of this concept would gladly publish their home address on this site for all to come and enjoy your property while you are out roaming on some rural private property. I’m sure your neighbors won’t mind when you decide to help yourself to their property. Right?

    No I’m not some radical environmentalist. But I do consider myself an environmentalist, conservationalist and respectful individual. I’m a hunter, fisherman, and rural PRIVATE property owner.
    I own and ride motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles, and boats.
    I also hike, bike, canoe, cross country ski and snowshoe. I also enjoy viewing wildlife, birds, natural scenery, and the deafening silence that the outdoors can provide.
    And when I see a sign, gate or fence, I respect the right of the property owner as I would expect everyone to respect my rights.
    If I want to go beyond, I do my homework, find the owner, and ask permission. If the answer is yes, I respect their land as if it were my own, I help them make it work, and I show my appreciation.
    If the answer is a conditional yes, I go above and beyond the conditions to show my appreciation.
    If the answer is no – I thank them for their time, express my understanding that it is their right, and go somewhere else with the attitude that their word is final.

    Do you have a “private property – no trespass”sign at your home? Do you have an enclosed /fenced property? do you have a locked gate? The law says this is required if you want to charge someone with trespass. Why should I have to install all of this just to try to keep the irresponsible attitudes of the City people off my private property. This is not my preference but a necessity due to the attitudes of most.
    Personally I ask myself what kind of a life do City people live when I see City houses that have bars on the windows. What are you afraid of? Someone else that wants to roam? What about my right to roam through your windows and into you home? Of course this is different because you know you only have the right to decide who comes into your place.

    When the 95% of the land is being managed responsibly because you have demanded it of your government and you have demanded it of yourself, and your have demanded it of all other recreationalists, you won’t have to demand the right to go onto the 5% that is now being managed responsibly by keeping you out.

    Keep bashing your head against that tree until the light turns green, then vote for some other party that understands the simple concept of peaceful enjoyment of private property.

    • Kody-Reply
      March 10, 2017 at 10:52 pm

      You are missing the point the rest of you narrow minded nay saying people that are completely on the side of being against this act as you are mostly saying in a way to take most
      rights of fishing, camping, hunting away?, and as doing so to still shut down access will fuel a bad fire and fire of an on going war. So let me ask you and rest of nay sayers, what’s your solution and answer to this problem and i mean to all sides??, besides shutting everyone to access to our beautiful back yard?. As I stated before you somehow regulate all access points to the backcountry were its crown land not to as yes those should still be restricted like watersheds or yes private land owners and so on, so again got to be some kind of a solution, as again this will be an ongoing battle like the law always trying to crack down on drugs and other horrific crimes and guess what the battle is still going on in that world, just saying in a somewhat example of this battle. Another example there’s other devastation I seen in backcountry other then the not caring bad apples with 4×4 and other off road vehicles etc, destroying land up is logging as I seen all over this province they log right to or near water ways of creeks and lakes and leave small to almost nothing of a buffer zone of free standing trees but guess what there rain comes and flushes all that ground into water that trees natualy hold the ground, and so messing up alot of fish and wild life habitat in that water area and not to mention wiped out all trees in the area for birds and other wildlife, also alot of small trees laying on the logged grounds from falling logged trees that once stated on news that fill logging trucks from one end of this country to other two times, I know there’s planting trees but alot of years to reclaim a forest back. Anyways I could go on about logging and so forth, but in the rights of loggers they need to protect there living and equipment and again someone who has been driving through a regulated access gate with camera or some areas with personal at a both to that logging area or crown land would be caught on camera or noted if the destroyed equipment or dump trash or vehicle dumping. Again just ideas out there, but hopefully there’s some solution in the end to all this is all I’m saying and that’s what my opinions and thoughts are. Think and say what you will till cows come home but there has to be a solution that will be beneficial for everyone

  11. Glen-Reply
    March 4, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    The gates are there for a reason. Tresspass over this guys gold claim and see what happens..

  12. Kody-Reply
    March 4, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Much interest for this bill to pass for most good reasons, I’m 28 now and grew up in BC Interior in Kamloops till year 2000 then moved to Victoria. Grew up camping, dirt biking, 4x4ing, skiing etc and was always educated and shown to respect our back country and so on. That said for the reason like others stated and know here that we should have rights and acess to our crown lands to camp, hunt, fish, dirt bike and ATV etc, of whatever we choose to do so to explore our back country. Providing so that the rest of us good people maintain that in respecting ways. As for most of the reason why we do have these gates and inaccessible areas is mostly the repeating of bad apples of bad thinkers and mindsets over the years that got to ruin it all for us to this unfortunate frustrated point. That being said that will always be ongoing ways of crimes of, vandalism, dumping waste, vehicle dumping etc, not to obviously sound that’s right in any way but that’s also apart of the issues of some of those non thinking people’s reactions to resisting to inaccessible back roads. There has to be some sort of solution to be regualed an controlled ways for all sides of agreement in the end for us outdoor enthusiasts, first nations and government. Some solutions of example in a way could be ethier a camera built into gates or high on some trees in the area of the gate that will snap pictures or video briefly whoever accessing that area and or some main areas of a booth with a gate that someone of law or timberwest personal in the booth stopping people and getting I’d and plates down. So again some sort of solution. Please keep up the good work Andrew and in any way we can help to pass this bill, hope there’s light at end of this tunnel very soon

  13. M. Galus-Reply
    March 3, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Has anyone stopped to consider the reason why these gates have been erected and consequently locked to keep the public out? Just take out the locks on your houses and apartments and see how long it will take for REALITY to set in.
    In this country we have managed to produce and acquire individuals with an enormous sense of entitlement who are disrespectful and don`t care about boundaries. In our area alone, I have observed deep ATV and 4X4 ruts over private and crown lands, cut and dragged away fencing, the chasing of cattle, poaching of domestic and wildlife animals, beer cans and cigarette butts thrown about, even near haystacks, bullet holes in equipment, stolen vehicles dragged in, shot up and burned, then left for someone else to clean up —AND even damage to pipelines. There is no policing in these areas. Who do you think covers the costs incurred by these activities that this type of mentality refers to as `recreation`. Certainly not them. There is little or no consequence to them. I certainly don`t want anyone tramping on my property throwing cigarette butts about which could potentially start a fire.
    I would like to make it clear that there are responsible individuals that are respectful and care about the environment but how are we to know who they are?
    There are alternatives to access crown land—-river and lake access, air access, and lots of crown bush access. Many responsible individuals are choosing this type rather than be confronted by the vandals that have established themselves in certain areas.
    The public is looking for EASY access via roads that have been constructed and are maintained at the expensive of private industry or private landowners and referring to them as public roads. They seem to be suffering from the “We Use, You Fix Disorder.
    The ” Right to Roam Bill 223 does not address all the issues and to pass this bill in parliament would be irresponsible and lead to future consequences and unnecessary costs to the citizens of British Columbia and would leave me and others with Post Traumatic Shock.

  14. Adam-Reply
    March 3, 2017 at 9:51 am

    I am not well educated on our processes of parliament or passing bill. But I feel I may be speaking for a number of people when I say this is a very important matter and I would love to see this bill pass but I am uncertain of how myself and others can do there part to ensure this happens. Any information you could give me that would help me assist in ensuring this bill passes would be greatly appreciated.

  15. Chris-Reply
    March 2, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    So im just curious if you are proposing this to all First Nations who live in bc? Because there are only a handful of treaties in bc in comparison to over 200 nations in bc. So you are proposing access on aboriginal title land that has never been ceded, surrendered or purchased. How does this affect those First Nations and what is your plan once the courts settle all the title cases in bc?

  16. Lucy McRaE-Reply
    March 2, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    I would have liked to see it mentioned that this appears to me to be a photo of Cyril Shelford. His memory deserves the acknowledgement and a wonderful guy he was!

    • March 2, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      It may well be. I found the photograph in the depths of the BC Archives. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

  17. L Frank-Reply
    March 2, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Would this bill allow public access to the so called “private land” from the E&N railway grant on Vancouver Island that the logging companies somehow inherited from our generous government ?

    • Thomas Warden-Reply
      July 6, 2017 at 7:59 am

      That is the best question I’ve read on this comments section. I hope Andrew can provide some insight into that.

  18. Merv-Reply
    March 2, 2017 at 10:33 am

    What ever happen to private property be private and is it different for you to unlock your back gate in cities so any one can go into your back yard?

  19. Carl Jones-Reply
    March 2, 2017 at 8:22 am

    This is a very important proposal. Being from the UK I have grown up exploring the countryside and spending time in natural surroundings, walking on public footpaths, mountain biking on public bridleways, and boating on public lakes. The UK is criss-crossed by a huge network of public rights of way; England and Wales alone have nearly 175,000km of public footpaths in an area less than a third the size of BC.

    Before moving to Canada I simply assumed the huge natural resources would be similarly available, however having spent 6 years living near Toronto before moving to BC, I found that most lakes within driving distance of the GTA are inaccessible, surrounded by private properties, and have only small areas available to the public, don’t let this happen in BC!

  20. Lynne-Reply
    March 2, 2017 at 8:21 am

    This must not be allowed to pass… when you have seen the damage to remote infrastructure that saves lives and the other damage that has been done by people who roam where they should not be you would understand why…. the hundreds of thousands of dollars that it takes to repair such damage is crazy… that is our tax payer dollars paying for that…. sorry Green Party… I have voted for you many times and I never will vote Green Party ever again ….

  21. Kirsten Snell-Reply
    March 2, 2017 at 6:51 am

    Just like Allemansrätt – it works in Scandinavia, it would be wonderful to see it here in BC.

  22. March 1, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Dear Honourable Mr. Weaver,

    Thank-you so much for introducing this bill. Access to public lands is an imperative that we must maintain. Closed gates equal closed minds. I believe, like the global indigenous community does, that we belong to the land and not the other way around. Humans presence on this planet came before rule of law and thus access precedes restriction. We are first and foremost free. For that to exist, it must be represented. I think agreements are useful tools and for them to truly be in service they must be kept in hand and I celebrate your action here.

    Sincerely,

    B. Edgar
    Cobble Hill

    • Erica-Reply
      March 7, 2017 at 8:54 pm

      Hello Mr. Edgar,

      I urge you to reconsider your comment here. The access of public lands is not in jeopardy. Crown lands are public domain. This bill seeks to give unrestricted access to private lands. I urge all British Columbians to try to see this issue from the perspective of the rural landowner. Would you be in favour of granting unrestricted public access to your backyard?

    • wes-Reply
      August 12, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      I am sorry top all the private forestry owners and what not but this needs to go through. I will now be an active participant in assisting this to go through. Anyone or group that is forming to assist this bill going through please contact me wesleybear1988@gmail.com .I grew up here on Vancouver island and live in cobble hill…..Everything is locked up! you cant go around locking up all our goddamn lakes!

  23. Steve Rainey-Reply
    March 1, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    I agree to access to crown land, it belongs to the people. I do not agree with access to private land without permission. Less that 3.5% of British Columbia is private land, and as private land owners we are responsible for the activities on this land, we are liable for people who are on our land with our permission and we have the right going back to the British North America Act to limit access if we see fit. What some people may see as “non-cultivated land” is actually a well organized rotational grazing system that is raising healthy food while improving the carbon content in the soil and increasing water retention.
    I support the access to crown land, but please stay off the private land…

  24. Ben le Nobel-Reply
    March 1, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    An excellent proposal. Outdoor recreation is an essential element of our culture here. Crown land is our land, and access is a right.

  25. Jacob-Reply
    March 1, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    While I support the spirit of this bill, I feel that “lawfully walking, hiking, or roaming as recreation” is too limited a definition of recreation. Skiing, climbing, biking and other such forms of recreation should be protected as well. However, I do think that certain protections need to be in place against motorized vehicle access with the understanding that vehicle access is required to support the aforementioned activities. We need a better recreation land management plan to address the stresses induced on the environment by the increasing popularity of outdoor recreational activities.

    • March 1, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      That was the spirit of the bill. Only motorized vehicles were excluded.

  26. C. D. Neal-Reply
    March 1, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    This Bill MUST not be allowed to pass. Where Private Property is involved it is an infringement on Private Property Rights. For many years the government has been slowly eroding away these rights. This bill would open a can of worms for liability and damage (on private property ) issues also.
    Most of the public are “good” people. However it is the bad apples that spoil it for everyone. They have a “sense of entitlement” an a total disregard for the environment and no respect for private property. As far as enforcing laws on crown (or private) land— that is JUST a pipe dream

    • Carl Jones-Reply
      March 2, 2017 at 8:34 am

      I understand your concern, however by not letting a bill like this pass you are allowing those bad apples to spoil it for everyone. I have walked many footpaths in the UK that pass right through peoples back yards, through churchyards, and farmyards. Now I’m not saying it is perfect, or that there are no issues along the way, but they are few and far between.
      We should allow the law-abiding majority to rise to the top, and deal with any issues from the bad apples along the way, not the other way around.

      • Erica-Reply
        March 7, 2017 at 8:50 pm

        Hi Carl,

        Unfortunately it is left up to the land owners to clean up the mess that is made by the ‘bad apples’. When you (the good apples) are enjoying a hike through private lands, you may not realize the extra care that falls into the shoulders of the land owner to keep that land clean, free of noxious weeds, gates and fences in good order, etc. I do not support this bill. 95 % if BC should be plenty to hike and explore.

  27. Aden Stewart-Reply
    March 1, 2017 at 10:33 am

    I have no problem with placing restrictions on motorized access to preserve habitat integrity and ensure that there are places for solitude, however, there is no reason whatsoever that British Columbian’s should be prevented from being free to roam on foot. This does no harm and is the right of every British Columbian.

  28. Ernie Meyer-Reply
    March 1, 2017 at 9:46 am

    good job…the island is covered with gates owned by the logging firms.

  29. Sam Vekemans-Reply
    March 1, 2017 at 2:49 am

    The issue is actually of Copyright of MAPS.

    The underlying map data (the GIS shape files used to make the maps) should be given away for free and available to all map makers.

    Yes, the printed/digital map is still copyrighted, but the DATA used to create the maps should be free (unrestricted use – just like the Federal Data).

    The problem is that property boundaries data is not freely available (the GIS data) making maps more expensive to make, is the map creator needs to buy the licence (from the Government or private sector) to make the map.

    If all map data (property boundaries) were made free (unrestricted use) then all maps could be showing the same information.

    Davenport Maps should NOT hold the data HOSTAGE, as the maps should be free. Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland all have free maps available, but BC doesn’t (this is because of copyright).
    The public should have a right to know where the property boundaries are, regardless of which maps they use.

  30. Shaun Gellatly-Reply
    February 28, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    I have enjoyed the back country of vancouver island over 20 year now. I take my kids out to spend time in woods we truly enjoy hunting,exploring,gold panning . There are a lot more locked gates in.last few years. From what I see is that some of the tfl holders are trying to keep pepole out from seeing the devistation in certain areas. Almost appears as if the wolf is I charge of the hen house. No government regulator enforcement

  31. Leo Vaillancourt-Reply
    February 28, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    Thank you for proposing this. I have spent 40 years on the wilderness of BC and have seen more and more areas closed off to the public. I have also spent many years fishing the lakes of Douglas lake area and to be suddenly shut out was extremely disheartening.
    I sure hope you are successful inyour efforts to allow us the use of Our Province for all outdoor enthusiasts.

  32. Heinz Schmid-Reply
    February 28, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    Congratulations to the MLA for bringing forward this motion!
    Well presented!

  33. Mavis Underwood-Reply
    February 28, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    I am glad someone raised the question about First Nations traditional territories in B. C. B.C. has a unique relationship in that the settlement population lives and does business on unceded First Nations lands. It is important if settlers want to experience freedom on the land they must work in a collaborative way with First Nations Peoples so that traditional First Nations rights and history of existence in the traditional territories are not extinquished. Andrew Weaver is a very smart person so possibly this push will help facilitate a reasonable dialogue.

    • John Munroe-Reply
      March 1, 2017 at 1:12 am

      Environment -> First Nations -> Settlers -> Government -> Corporations

      This should always be the order of priorities.
      To do other: what justification can there be in an open forum devoid of graft?

    • Gino-Reply
      March 1, 2017 at 8:58 am

      Not every damn thing has to involve the natives and I really resent being called a settler.

      • Jesse-Reply
        March 8, 2017 at 10:50 am

        Descendant of settlers then

  34. Dale Vernon-Reply
    February 28, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    I fully support this but not just gated areas but with forest management of logging roads as well. I have spent all of my life hunting and fishing in BC. I am 43 years old now and started in the bush when I was big enough to hold the easy and stand on the seat. Hunting and fishing with my father and grandfather we used old bush and mine roads from back when they were children, most roads still fine few washed away by mother nature but not many. Well around 25 years ago some how by someone road deactivations and cross ditching came into play to preserve habitat and protect the forest. Well I believe this has done absolutely the opposite. Cross ditching does not work to preserve any roads ever, it is plain ridiculous. Dectivations…Why places I’ve gone my entire life are now not accessible or when your done raping it you get to close it. If mining or logging companies get the right to go in and rape the resources then rather then having to destroy the road it could be used for all of us to see our country. I’m not saying make it perfect for everyone in there kias just realustic like it used to be. By gating, blocking or digging up everything pressure and activity are forced into only the main access. These policies are devastating the lakes rivers and forest areas that people are concentrated to. Leave us the people more access, let us spread out let us explore with far less harm. Every little puddle back in the day if a logging road came anywhere near it ended up with a lakeside landing, a sign and a picnic table if not 3 or 4. This doesn’t happen anymore, the forest isn’t managed, it’s raped and blocked and we don’t have any choice…

    • Dave-Reply
      March 6, 2017 at 10:47 am

      This bill won’t give you any access to gated lands that you don’t already have. Weavers bill is for FOOT access. It won’t open up any gates on the Island, or prevent any roads from being deactivated.

      It will merely allow random individuals to walk around on private property.

  35. February 28, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    When I was a teenager 14 years young my buddy and I bought a 41 ford pick up and drove that all over the logging roads in the interior of B.C. to fish and camp. never any gates and no problems. Older as a scout leader we camped over most of Vancouver Island and the west coast trail. still no problems.Now at age 70 I still like to get out in the back country on my quad .Gates every where , and deep cross ditches a real hazard. I know dumping of garbage can be a problem but that can also be fixed. The people that travel the back roads to enjoy the wilderness are not the ones destroying anything.It is time that B.C. got the country we own back.

    • Edwin Peeters-Reply
      February 28, 2017 at 8:15 pm

      Well said!

  36. Mike Dodds-Reply
    February 28, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    I think that there should only be one fishing license for the province. That license should include all salt water and all fresh waters in the province. Very few people that fish salt water do not get salmon endorsements, so include that in the licence as well. Every land locked province gives you a license to fish the entire province, why should we have to buy two separate ones!

  37. Mark Hicks-Reply
    February 28, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    And this should include any road that has been subsidized by stumpage dollars.

  38. Robert Loewen-Reply
    February 28, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    It is crown land and we are the crown we the public have a right to enjoy all crown lands leased or not. We are losing our rights to enjoy our wonderfull province. Logging and Mining need to be allowed access but the public does too.
    Very good bill has my vote
    Robert Loewen

  39. Pat Hoskins-Reply
    February 28, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    Well done! The best bit of legislation to come forth in years for the outdoor lovers of British Columbia, MLAs please support!

  40. jim connon-Reply
    February 28, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    i think public roads should not be gated for anyone and yes i have been on both sides of the fence (logging , backcountry traveling ,hunting and fishing)i love all the outdoors exploring and i would love my kids and grandkids to see it all as well , not worry about tresspassing on public land . dave keep up the good work and get this bill passed

  41. Jack Regan-Reply
    February 28, 2017 at 11:47 am

    If its not stopped now…imagine what it will be like for future outdoor enthuisists. Extremely Limited back country adventures…would not be right.

  42. Stephen Rubin-Reply
    February 28, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Awesome move…

  43. Chris Bane-Reply
    February 28, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Does a gate have to be open to provide access? Or can you just throw your bike over, or just walk around the gate and go hunting or hiking or camping?

    I have zero affiliation with any land owners, but in every situation where a gate is unlocked there is always a pile of trash. That trash doesn’t get there without vehicle access.

    Of course, if we didn’t have to pay for non-commercial dumping…

  44. Josh Rempel-Reply
    February 28, 2017 at 8:02 am

    I totally agree with this bill! We have a cabin in the okanagen and the amount of locked gates on completely public lands is shocking! If the land is truely public please leave it open for public access!

  45. Jon-Reply
    February 28, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Glad to see this bill! Too many great hunting spots being bullied away from hunters and hikers by private land owners.

    Nice work.

    • Mike-Reply
      June 23, 2017 at 9:47 pm

      What you don’t understand is ranchers own these private lands, and yes there may be a few upstanding people that would be respectful of livestock, but for the most part there’s going to be people leaving gates open and livestock will get out, trash left on native pastures, and what about careless people camping? What if their fire gets out of control? How would you like a fire on your private property? How would you feel if I came into your backyard and started messing around with your animals? How would you feel if I came into your back yard and seen game birds and just started shooting? The answer is you wouldn’t. Ranchers work their butts off for what they have, they are stewards of the land and take great pride in what they do, all this bill does is infringe on personal rights, and it’s not private land owners bullying hunters, it’s ranchers that don’t want to see the work he/she’s put in ruined by an ignorant hunter leaving open gates or cutting fence or leaving ruts in the grass from their trucks, or some crappy shooter accidentally hitting one of their animals. So ya just because it benefits your sightseeing or hunting (I’m a hunter and rancher btw) or any other personal enjoyment, you don’t see that it could ruin someone else’s livelihood

  46. February 28, 2017 at 7:43 am

    One reason why having access to wild land is important is that human need interaction with the wild for their development and maturity. From years of facilitating connection to nature for all age we can see 8 attributes of connection emerging reliably happiness of a child , vitality, deep listening, empathy and caring for nature , truly helpfulness, full aliveness and in touch with preciousness of life , love and forgiveness and access to the quiet mind . those qualities are increasingly getting rare and it is directly related to the lack of free play in nature. the consequences for the respect for life are enormous. people in their formative years especially need to receive feedback from something “other” they can’t control to mature fully to a sense of “we “. also for people to connect with their “vision and gifts ” traditionally people were asked by their culture to spend time alone in the wild … i will be happy to explain more … nature is essential for connection…. as a wilderness school we are presented with more and more difficulty accessing the wild .. thank you for presenting that bill and the debate have to go further than recreation in nature.

  47. dan mackenzie-Reply
    February 27, 2017 at 11:38 pm

    the same situation is happening just west of lilloet on the schulaps range large areas are being denied to the public. only open to horseback and hiking. trails that used to connect the yallacom valley over to the west and north to the gang ranch

  48. Greg Forsythe-Reply
    February 27, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    the logging company’s have cut off many established trails by gating or blocking accesses roads a good example is father and son lakes on Vancouver island there is a good trail to the lakes and I have seen many family’s hike to these lakes but recently the road has been cut off for the normal family by digging a ditch across the road as there is nothing between the main road and the accesses to the established trail why not block it after the trail access

  49. Aren Northey-Reply
    February 27, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    I moved to Scotland from Vancouver about a year and a half ago. They have a similar law in place, which works amazingly well and has allowed for numerous long distance trail networks

    It is based on mutual respect of the landowner to allow others to enjoy natural beauty and the hikers or bikers to pass through without altering the space in anyway. Good luck!

  50. February 27, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    thanks for all the good efferts

  51. Greg Cave-Reply
    February 27, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    How would this apply to Grazing Leases, that for decades were accessible. I totally agree with motorized restrictions, when damage is being done to grasslands or what have you, but total loss of access, by foot, to hunters, hikers, etc.

  52. Ashley-Reply
    February 27, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    Hi Andrew, first off David and myself think you have been doing an amazing job advocating for the environment, for science and peoples best interest in general. I think this proposition could be good too to open access to areas that are locked up by tree farms and other companies but will this give people the right to trespass through private lands to access crown land? My husbands family owns land in the interior and we don’t want hunters on it or other people who are not part of the neighborhood. So far I have heard of hunters, trespassers, and someone growing dope on it. Another excuse for people to feel my mother in laws land is accessible to them is not something we really want. I am sure you can imagine it can be a bit scary to come across people who shouldn’t be on your land, How do you propose protecting the landowners and people living on land by crown land and waterways from unwanted activities?

  53. Patrick Cousley-Reply
    February 27, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    At Peter Hope lake the road on the west side is a public road that provides access to recreation site land now has a sign on it that claims it is private access. .this road is a public road ..the Peter Hope Strata council has been trying to discourage the public from using this area for recreational purposes. .this area is mapped as Peter Hope north recreation site..the caretaker of PHSC..H as been yelling at public visitors on crown land..this is how it starts

  54. Cheryl-Reply
    February 27, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    I have been fishing and exploring the back roads of Vancouver Island for 23 years, and more and more I am denied access by gates, I love to get out where there are rivers and lakes not only to explore but to get away from the stresses of every day life…I battle depression without medication and being in the wilderness is my release, my medication, it relaxes me! so if more and more wilderness is taken away how will I continue to maintain this depression with out having to turn to medication!?…please pass above bill so I do not have to take medication with many side
    effects, thank you

  55. Gerald Hall-Reply
    February 27, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    I too have traveled Washington State logging roads without finding a locked gate. Spurs are deactivated with a ditch. For these companies to keep us out of what has always been public land is a bloody disgrace. Thank you for your efforts.

  56. Ellen Strong Klassen-Reply
    February 27, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Thank you so much! Unbelievable! I have been saddened by this for years. Thank you for making a difference. Keep up the great work!!

  57. Rob Ulrich-Reply
    February 27, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Would this apply to logging companies that have put up gates denying access to lakes and areas for hunting, fishing and hiking?

  58. Peter Hutchinson-Reply
    February 27, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    I believe that access was not an issue for the large logging companies for years but then vandalism of company property forced them to gate areas. Also active logging roads are dangerous places. I am all for this bill but I am sure the above will be deemed public safety in those situations.

  59. Jen Herkes-Reply
    February 27, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    It is my understanding that these roads are fenced and locked for safety and liability reasons. How would this bill address the issues of liability if the roads become public accessible? Who would fund their care and maintenance? I also wonder how this universal access may infringe upon aboriginal rights and title?

  60. Jessie Gibb-Reply
    February 27, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    I say yes to this bill! This backcountry belongs to all of us, not just a few select corporations or individuals. Being given a right to harvest lumber is NOT the right to block everyone else’s access.

  61. Mark Coulter-Reply
    February 27, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    How would this apply to aboriginal territories?

    • February 27, 2017 at 3:13 pm

      An excellent question. This would have to be determined via regulation and through extensive consultation with First Nations. I hope to start such consultations should we form government.

  62. Robin Robinson-Reply
    February 27, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    I agree with this, except there really is no need for hunting on these lands. I prefer to hike where I am not going to be shot at.

    • Dave-Reply
      February 27, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      How many people have been shot at or killed by hunters in BC?
      You should be more afraid of your fridge falling over and smothering you.

    • Andrew Lockhart-Reply
      February 27, 2017 at 9:10 pm

      So you would suggest that hunters should in someway have less rights than that of a non-hunter? That is a clearly irrational fear you are displaying. Attacks by wild animals are far and away more common than any hunting incidents involving firearms, yet you do not argue for the removal of dangerous animals. Sounds to me like you may be a hoplophobe.

    • Josh-Reply
      February 28, 2017 at 8:27 am

      I agree with Dave here! Hunters aren’t in the back country blasting away at everything with their firearms, please rest assured that any legit hunter has went through safety courses to learn the correct measures to handle their firearms. That would be like saying cars aren’t allowed in the roads cause they might hit pedestrians…

  63. Gerrit Huizinga-Reply
    February 27, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    In Washington State they support the right to access land for receration .It is amazing how much land that i have traveled there and not see a gate and here we can’t go ten km seeing a bunch of gates.

  64. Rick McGowan-Reply
    February 27, 2017 at 11:58 am

    This legislation would go a long way to ensuring that BC would remain one if not the best places on earth. We must protect our public places and if necessary stand up and demand it from our elected officials.

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