Jetboats create turbulence in B.C.'s Kootenays

A growing list of recreational users and environmental activists in the Kootenays are demanding some regulation of high-powered watercraft on the Kootenay River and its Rocky Mountain tributaries.

A growing list of recreational users and environmental activists in the Kootenays are demanding some regulation of high-powered watercraft on the Kootenay River and its Rocky Mountain tributaries.

Anglers and paddlers say jetboats are roaring up the Kootenay, White and Bull rivers between Cranbrook and Invermere, ruining the experience for them and for others.

A still from a video posted on YouTube shows a jetboater on the upper Kootenay River. (YouTube)

Heather Leschied, a program manager with environmental group Wildsight, says her organization wants the federal government to step in and do something before someone gets hurt.

"We haven't yet had an accident on the river, but a number of near misses have been documented and expressed by paddlers," Leschied said.

Leschied says Wildsight doesn't necessarily want to exclude jet boaters, but believes it's time to start a conversation.

"We want to see all the users of the river come together to see what a potential solution could look like." she said. 

Leschied said motorized craft are regulated on other rivers, such as the nearby Elk River, but the upper Kootenay, White and Bull don't have any rules in place.

Google Map: Kootenay, Bull and White rivers

With file from the CBC's Bob Keating

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