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

Cycling advocates call for more pedestrian space, temporary bike lanes during pandemic

An increase in foot traffic means transportation needs to be prioritized, advocates say

Volunteers collect and deliver pet food across Greater Victoria during COVID-19 pandemic

Richard Hawkes has ‘food coming out of his ears’ and would love to help those in need

COVID-19 has been impacting Canadian economy since January

But full effects of pandemic won’t be known for months

Saanich police arrest suspect in arson spree near Camosun College Lansdowne campus

Calgary man in police custody waiting for a tele-bail hearing, constable says

Mental Health: A look at a fractured system

In this special series, Black Press Media reporters share stories from across Greater Victoria

First Nations, remote communities need special attention in pandemic, Freeland says

Health-care workers, seniors, Indigenous Peoples some of people most at risk, health officials say

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

Fake test kits and other COVID online scams play on public anxiety: fraud centre

Vancouver has seen a spike in commercial property crimes, with offices and stores empty because of COVID-19

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Feds amplify stay-home message as cost of financial aid to Canadians mounts

Liberals have unveiled around $200B in direct financial aid and tax deferrals

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

World COVID-19 update: Six million U.S. jobless claims; Russia sends medical aid to U.S.

Comprehensive update with COVID-19 news from around the world

Couple celebrates 61st anniversary through Vancouver Island seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Most Read