Snowmobile clubs check compliance in caribou closures

Mountain communities want to be consulted on further closures

Local snowmobile clubs had a chance to get a birds-eye view of the areas they manage to see if sledders are entering prohibited areas.

Gord Bushell and Teena Rumak, the general managers of the Eagle Valley and Revelstoke snowmobile clubs, recently rode along with the Conservation Officer’s Service on a helicopter enforcement patrol to see if the closure areas, monitored by the clubs to protect mountain caribou in the area, are being respected.

Read More: Sicamous wants more consultation on backcountry closures

Read More: Snowmobilers caught in caribou closure near Revelstoke

Bushell said local snowmobile clubs have signed stewardship management agreements which make them responsible for marking the boundaries of areas closed to snowmobiles due to the presence of caribou.

Bushell said the enforcement trip was to look for sleds or sled tracks in closed areas.

A flyover of Queest Mountain, where there had been non-compliance within a closed area in the past, turned up no sign of sleds or caribou. Bushell attributed previous non-compliance to signs being difficult to see.

A flight over the Bourne Glacier, also managed by the Eagle Valley Snowmobile Club and closed to sledders except for a 20-metre wide trail to the top of the glacier, turned up some evidence of sleds straying into prohibited areas.

A summary of enforcement action taken by conservation officers in the first half of March says they patrolled 10 caribou closures in the area north of Revelstoke and found good compliance overall, but one incident where sledders entered the legislated closure area on Frisby Ridge, and several others where the voluntary closure on the ridge was not being respected.

As large sections of southern B.C.’s mountains are being considered for a legislated closure under the Section 11 of the Species at Risk Act, Bushell said it is uncertain whether the current stewardship agreements will remain in effect.

Bushell said the Eagle Valley Snowmobile Club has not yet had a chance to speak with the people who will be making the decisions on further backcontry closures. He said they would like to have an open house in Sicamous to give the public an opportunity to get more information. A public consultation session is being held in Revelstoke on April 15 at a yet-to-be-determined location.

Along with open houses, the B.C. government is also gathering public opinion on the closures online at https://engage.gov.bc.ca/caribou/section11agreement/.

Bushell said he hopes an open house will let the province know about the effects the closures might have on peoples’ livelihoods.

“They’re telling us that it’s not going to affect the snowmobilers and the snowmobile areas, but it is going to affect the resource-based businesses and that’s scary.”

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

Read More: Two draft agreements on B.C. Caribou protection ‘historic,’ says minister

Bushell said while Sicamous does not have any large mills, many businesses in the area rely on the forestry sector.

Sicamous is forwarding a resolution to the Union of B.C. Municipalities and the Southern Interior Local Government Association requesting adequate consultation be undertaken with the communities affected by the backcountry closures.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Sicamous Eagles lose to league-leading Kimberley Dynamiters

The Eagles will be right back at it with a Sunday afternoon game against Chase.

People who are homeless in Salmon Arm provide consultants with key information

Urban Matters consultants gather information from ‘experts’ as they work on housing strategy

Word on the street: What is your strategy for not spending too much on Christmas gifts this year?

The Observer asked: What is your strategy for not spending too much on Christmas gifts this year?

Map points to mysterious ‘Waterdome’ in the middle of Salmon Arm Bay

City would like to have map marker removed, pilot recalls its significance

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservative urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

Slippery sections reported on Okanagan and Shuswap highways

Some sections of the Trans-Canada highway have black ice on them.

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Most Read