Backcountry recreationalists are reminded to follow the rules while snowmobiling to help protect mountain caribou habitat and support British Columbia’s Mountain Caribou Recovery Implementation Plan. Natural resource officers and conservation officers are patrolling B.C.’s backcountry this winter to enforce snowmobiling regulations and area closures.
Failure to comply with the regulations or co-operate with officers could result in fines or equipment seizures. Continued non-compliance could result in increased closures in that area.
Closures now are in effect in about 60 areas frequented by the mountain caribou, an endangered species in British Columbia. Maps showing the locations of these closed areas are available online at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/wildlife/snowmobile-closures/ Areas of particular concern this winter include: Silvercup Ridge, Mt. Grace, Standard Peak, Sale Mountain, Frisby Ridge, Catamount Glacier, North Star Glacier and the Upper Spillimacheen River area.
The closures are intended to help boost mountain caribou populations in these areas. Snowmobile activity can affect the animals’ behaviour, prompting them to move into less suitable habitat where the food supply is not as plentiful or where their activity in steep terrain could create avalanche hazards. If mountain caribou are forced out of an area unnecessarily, the caribous’ energy reserves can be depleted during this critical time of the year.
People who encounter mountain caribou while snowmobiling in an unrestricted area should take the following precautions:
* Do not approach the animals.
* Turn off all snowmobile engines and give the caribou a chance to move away.
* Leave the area as soon as it is practical to do so.
* Avoid riding within sight of the animals. Snowmobilers should also be aware that it is illegal to damage young trees in reforested areas or operate a snowmobile on plowed forest service roads.
Other areas of B.C. are closed to snowmobiling to help mitigate competing interests between different recreational user groups. Signs identifying these areas are posted at trailheads and maps of their locations are available through local snowmobile clubs or on the Recreation Sites and Trails BC website at: http://www.sitesandtrailsbc.ca. Managed snowmobile trails often have fees and rules associated with their use and that information is also posted at applicable trailheads.
To report a violation, call FrontCounter BC at 1 877 855-3222 or call the Report all Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline at 1 877 952_RAPP (7277).
For information on snowmobiling regulations, visit: http://www.snowmobile.gov.bc.ca or contact a local Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations office, snowmobile club or FrontCounter BC office. To learn about avalanche safety, visit the Canadian Avalanche Centre website at: http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/
To learn about mountain caribou, visit the Mountain Caribou Recovery website at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/speciesconservation/mc/index.html Media Contact: Media Relations Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations 250 356-5261. Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect