Backcountry recreationalists are reminded to follow the rules while snowmobiling to help protect mountain caribou habitat and support British Columbia’s Mountain Caribou Recovery Implementation Plan.
Natural resource officers and conservation officers are patrolling B.C.’s backcountry this winter to enforce snowmobiling regulations and area closures. Failure to comply with the regulations or co-operate with officers could result in fines or equipment seizures. Continued non-compliance could result in increased closures in that area.
Closures now are in effect in about 60 areas frequented by the mountain caribou, an endangered species in British Columbia. Maps showing the locations of these closed areas are available online at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/wildlife/snowmobile-closures/.
Areas of particular concern this winter include: Silvercup Ridge, Mt. Grace, Standard Peak, Sale Mountain, Frisby Ridge, Catamount Glacier, North Star Glacier and the Upper Spillimacheen River area.
The closures are intended to help boost mountain caribou populations in these areas. Snowmobile activity can affect the animals’ behaviour, prompting them to move into less suitable habitat where the food supply is not as plentiful or where their activity in steep terrain could create avalanche hazards.
If mountain caribou are forced out of an area unnecessarily, the caribous’ energy reserves can be depleted during this critical time of the year.