Ripping around in the bush and harming Crown land on an ORV (Off-road Vehicle) might seem like recreation to some people, but in B.C. it is a crime.
As the weather improves and camping season starts to get underway, more people will head out to responsibly enjoy the forests and range lands for recreational purposes.
Unfortunately, irresponsible off-roading with ORVs, motorcycles or 4x4s, sometimes referred to as mud bogging, disrupts the ecological foundation of B.C.’s natural areas. In sensitive sites, the damage can be catastrophic.
Violation tickets for mud bogging are $575, and other penalties may include towing or impoundment of vehicles, jail time and expenses related to habitat restoration.
The public are encouraged to report suspicious activities and environmental damage to the province’s toll-free, 24 hour Report All Poachers and Polluters – RAPP line at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277) or from a cell phone *7277.
“Everyone is encouraged to enjoy public forests and range lands but to stay safe and tread lightly. Most people who use Crown land act responsibly but the damage caused by mud bogging is not only ugly, it has negative effects on precious fish and wildlife habitat.,” says Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
Terry Wardrop, land and environment coordinator, ATV Association of BC commented, “Spending a few hours on an ATV is one of the best ways to get out and enjoy the abundance of beautiful land in our province. As the recognized leader of ATV/UTV riding in B.C., we are big believers in responsible riding and environmental protection. We work with government and other stakeholders to improve safety and environmental initiatives and are pleased to see enforcement aimed at the few riders who fail to respect the land and trails.”
Key facts regarding mud bogging on Crown Land:
* Offenders can be ordered to pay the costs of remediating the environment.
* Vehicles can be towed or impounded and forfeiture can be sought.
* Under section 7 of the Wildlife Act, a person commits an offence if they alter, damage or destroy designated wildlife habitat and they receive an automatic court appearance.
* The Wildlife Act, the Motor Vehicle Act and the federal Fisheries Act can all be used to prosecute offenders who cause environment damage to Crown land.
For a list of ATV clubs go to: http://www.atvbc.ca
The Off-road Vehicle Management Framework: http://www.tti.gov.bc.ca/tourism/ORV/index.htm
You can also find the brochure about responsible off-road vehicle use here.