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

Young Muslims offer helping hand to isolated residents throughout Lower Mainland

Neighbourhood Helper campaign aims to get help to people who can’t leave their homes

White Rock’s promenade to close to the public

Public access to popular waterfront walkway closing April 10: city

Christopherson Steps, 1,001 Steps closed due to COVID-19

Access restricted to Crescent Beach over Easter weekend, City of Surrey announces

LETTER: With a long road of recovery ahead, Surrey must keep RCMP

To change for the sake of change shows weak leadership, inability to understand needs of community

Urban Safari Rescue Society starts online video presentations

Animal shelter struggling to stay afloat during pandemic

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

BC institution has highest number of positive results for COVID-19

11 inmates in Mission test positive for coronavirus, more than any other federal prison in Canada

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

Most Read