Drivers of off-road vehicles and snowmobiles who venture into sensitive habitats in B.C.’s backcountry will face increased fines. Photo submitted

Off-road vehicles caught in sensitive B.C. wildlife habitats to net $575 fine

Areas include all BC Parks and southern mountain caribou habitats

Anyone caught driving off-road vehicles and snowmobiles in habitats deemed sensitive by the government will face hefty increased fines.

The Province said the move will better protect environmentally sensitive habitats and species at risk.

“Effective immediately, anyone operating an off-road vehicle in sensitive habitats, including all BC Parks and southern mountain caribou habitats, will face a $575 fine,” a government news release stated Tuesday.

Violation tickets may be issued under the Wildlife Act or the Park Act by police, conservation officers, natural resource officers or park rangers.

The new fine amount in some cases more than doubles the previous fine amounts of either $230 or $345 depending on the violation. That amount did not reflect the effect of non-compliance to sensitive habitats and species in British Columbia, the government said.

Read More: COS patrol issues charges to riders within mountain caribou habitat

Read More: B.C. communities want say in caribou recovery

Court convictions for snowmobiling in southern mountain caribou habitats also may result in a fine up to $200,000 and six months imprisonment.

Caribou are considered a species at risk, and protecting caribou habitat ranges is crucial to the survival of the species. Controlled and limited access to sensitive habitats by off-road vehicles, such as snowmobiles, is the most effective way to protect these areas and wildlife from harmful recreation activities.

Read More: Leaked audit suggests rules to protect caribou ignored by oil and gas industry

The Province said it has committed to a new long-term, comprehensive, science-based approach to protect and preserve caribou populations: the Provincial Caribou Recovery Program. The Province has put aside $27 million over three years to establish this program.

An important component of the caribou recovery program aims to reduce the effect of winter backcountry recreation (e.g., recreational snowmobiling), which has the potential to damage caribou habitat, increase access by predators and displace mountain caribou from their preferred early and late winter habitat, stated the release.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Aquatic centre to remain closed for the next month

City staff say the closure is due to ongoing roof construction at Western Financial Place

Regional chambers meet with provincial government staff

Regional representatives with Kootenay chambers of commerce recently met with the provincial… Continue reading

Latest round of Columbia River Treaty talks wrap up in Cranbrook

Federal, provincial, U.S. and Indigenous representatives recently met for eight round of discussions

Registration open now for Kootenay Up and Down disc golf tournament

PDGA sanctioned, B-tier tournament takes place Oct. 5-6 at Wycliffe and Cranbrook courses

Skymount partners with College, creates course preparing students for growing drone industry

Cranbrook’s College of the Rockies (COTR) recently unveiled an intriguing new program… Continue reading

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Most Read