Campbell River Natural Resource District

Information for Off-Road Vehicles
Including 4X4s, ATVs, Mud Boggers and Snowmobilers

Residents and visitors to the Campbell River area are attracted to the forests and numerous freshwater lakes to enjoy outdoor recreation. Boating, fishing, hunting, camping, mountain biking, and off-roading are popular year-round activities. The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations urges all users to act responsibly as you explore our forest and wilderness areas.

Much of the information on this page is specific to the Campbell River area.  For additional Provincial initiatives please visit:

Environmental Protection of Crown Land

The Province of BC has enacted laws intended to prevent damage to the environment. These laws apply to publicly owned land and are intended to protect streams, plants, wildlife habitat, wetlands and other sensitive ecosystems. Some examples of activities that result in damage to the environment include: driving/riding off-road vehicles into streams and through swamps; damaging soil; spilling petroleum into streams, wetlands and lakes; polluting water and dumping garbage or waste. It is also illegal to build a trail on Crown (public) land without authority. Persons found in contravention of these laws may be subject to prosecution.

For more information on protecting the environment, and how to report forest crimes or environmental damage see the linked brochure.


Campbell River Watershed - John Hart Lake Restrictions

The City of Campbell River draws its drinking water supply from John Hart Lake mostly via the BC Hydro intake dam and penstocks.  On October 15, 2001 the Ministry of Forests in cooperation with the City of Campbell River moved to protect the city’s water supply.  To that end, several roads within the community watershed are closed to motorized vehicles.  In addition, an order to prohibit camping along the shores of the John Hart Lake is in place.

The intent of the order is to protect the drinking water used by the residents of the Campbell River area.  Motor vehicles can cause sediment and petroleum products to enter the water supply.  Campers can introduce human fecal coliform and other pollutants.

See the map for more details.

For additional information please visit the City of Campbell River website at


Snowden Demonstration Forest Trails

Established trails within the Snowden Demonstration Forest are classified as non-motorized trails and use of motorized vehicles is prohibited.


Insurance and the Use of Forest Service Roads

All ATVs and off road vehicles operating in BC must be registered in the prescribed form.

All motorized vehicle operators on Forest Service Roads (FSR) must have a valid driver’s license for the vehicle they are driving.  It is against the law to allow an unlicensed driver to operate an ATV or other motorized vehicle on Forest Service Roads.

All operators must also carry a minimum of $200,000 third-party liability insurance, available through insurance agents.  Outdoor recreation clubs often provide group insurance policies as part of their membership package.  For more information visit the web links at the bottom of this section.

For more information please visit:


Snowmobiles and the Use of Forest Service Roads

Before operating a snowmobile anywhere in the Province of BC it must be registered with the Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC).  A snowmobile may travel on Forest Service Roads without insurance as long as the road is not plowed or used by other motor vehicles.  If the road can be used by others, it is illegal to use a snowmobile on it with or without insurance.  A snowmobile may cross an FSR used by other motor vehicles as long as the snowmobile is insured, the driver is licensed, helmets are worn and the crossing is safe.

For information on the use of snowmobiles in Strathcona Park please visit the Ministry of Environment website:



Forest Service Road (FSR): 
Public roads managed by the Province of BC.  Many, but not all, major logging roads on Crown Land within the Campbell River Natural Resource District are FSRs.

Crown Land: 
Publicly owned land managed by the Province.