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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon Arm mayor supports parking solution for hungry truckers

Alternative to Highway 1 suggested for drivers wanting access to McDonald’s

Column: Keeping distance, working together and readying for rebound

Council Report by Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake County MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

Shuswap food bank gives away three months of food in one week

High demand in face of COVID-19, Eagle Valley Community Support Society appeals for donations

Second Vernon-area high school exposed to COVID-19

Kalamalka Secondary School staff, students urged to self-isolate if showing symptoms

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

Okanagan woman baking for those in need amid COVID-19

Vernon’s Crystal Hedlund launched a GoFundMe page to generate funds for baking materials

Okanagan distillery hands out thousands of sanitizer bottles, needs help in COVID-19 fight

Okanagan Springs is donating hand sanitizer to help fill COVID-induced shortages

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Most Read