The BC Conservation Officer service is reminding snowmobilers about restricted access outside Cranbrook in an effort to protect Mountain Caribou populations.
East Kootenay CO Sergeant Denny Chretien wants to make sure the public is aware certain areas are off limits in the southern Purcell Mountain range.
These lands used to be under Management Area restrictions but became fully closed off to recreational vehicles this year.
Chretien says it’s critical they take care of the small amount of caribou that are left.
He explains caribou populations are at the lowest they’ve been for years so they are doing everything they can to preserve the animal.
The sergeant says recreational vehicles bring an added pressure to the populations and disturbs them in their natural habitat.
Chretien adds snowmobile tracks also give predators an advantage on caribou.
He says any snowmobilers found in these areas will be fined and in some cases vehicles will be seized.
Chretien explains officers are closely monitoring the areas by land and air which may result in more inspections for riders.
He encourages everyone to have the proper license and registration available.
Fines for being in the restricted areas can start at $230, while punishment for not having proper paperwork range from $110-$230.
Depending on the level of the offence, and if you are a repeat offender, you could have to make a court appearance and fines may increase.
To see all the areas in our region that restrict snowmobile access go here.
– Josh Hoffman
– BC CO East Kootenay Sergeant Denny Chretien