by Heather Nelson
100 Mile Free Press
Last month, the BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) introduced the Outdoor Passport, an educational program that improves access to private lands for hunting, angling and other outdoor recreation activities.
“This program has been in the works for four years,” says BCWF past-president Mel Arnold.
“The holders of the outdoor passports are active hunters who learn more about conservation and outdoor recreation ethics.”
The passport includes an identity card to introduce members to landowners and an access pass that records conditions the landowner may have. A copy of the access pass with contact information is left with the landowner to ensure ease of follow-up with both parties.
“The bonus of participating landowners is that not only do they have assurances the passport holder will treat their land respectfully, but there is a third-party liability insurance that landowners can get at no charge.”
According the BCWF website, landowners who participate in the program can apply free of charge for $1 million third-party legal liability protection to cover the exposure of passport holders using their land for hunting and fishing opportunities.
“This should work out well; we’ll wait and see,” says South Cariboo Regional Cattlemen’s Association president Tal Pincott.
“It will help with a better working relationship between hunters and ranchers, and the local [land] owners will be more comfortable having the hunters’ names and contact information.”
The Cariboo area has a serious predator problem, says Arnold, and the passport members can assist farmers and ranchers to mitigate crop and livestock loss.
“It is a voluntary program for the landowners to be a part of. We see the benefits for those who participate, but it is their choice,” says Arnold.
“We are working on trying to connect them better. The next step is advancing our website to directly connect hunters and landowners.”
For more information visit the BCWF website at www.bcwf.bc.ca or call Arnold at 250-833-1155.