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Fighting for the 'right to roam:' advocate lobbying province for open access to B.C. backcountry

Last Updated Sep 21, 2019 at 4:38 pm PDT


Barry Janyk, head of the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC, is lobbying for gates to come down

He is criticizing the province for continuing to throw more money at marketing the outdoors than maintaining it

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Access to B.C.’s backcountry is being increasingly blocked by landowners and leaseholders, interfering with what one advocate calls the “right to roam.”

Barry Janyk, head of the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC, is lobbying for this to change.

“There are more gates there are more locks, there are more restrictions to the access that used to be available,” he says.

Janyk is heading to the Union of BC Municipalities convention to advocate for the province to step in and legislate open access, and prevent land owners and leasees from locking folks out.

“We’re kind of getting a double whammy, with the private property powners that are increasingly restrictiong access plus the former access points being pinched off,” he explains.

He says between the province’s relentless marketing of the backcountry and its unwillingness to invest in recreation sites and trails, the outdoors has become crowded and the pressure on natural spaces has increased.

He says there needs to be accommodations made for Indigenous land rights and safety concerns in any proposed solution, but a solution is overdue.

“It’s impossible for us to maintain the situation as it is because it’s only going to deteriorate.”