Four snowmobilers were caught in a caribou closure south of Revelstoke last month.
On Feb. 6, B.C. conservation officers were patrolling by helicopter an area called Silvercup Ridge, which is roughly 100 km south of Revelstoke near Trout Lake. They spotted four individuals within the closed boundaries and with ground support were able to confirm their identity.
|Silvercup Ridge is near Trout Lake. (Google map)|
Since 2009, the B.C. government has closed areas to snowmobile use across Mountain Caribou ranges. From midnight Dec. 31 to Apr. 15, there are closures in many areas throughout B.C. Some areas include: Frisby, Sale, Keystone/Standard Basin and Caribou Basin. Detailed maps of areas closed can be found at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/wildlife/snowmobile-closures/
According to Joe Caravetta, Regional Manager and Inspector Conservation Officer , the four individuals have not been arrested. However, the matter is still under investigation. It’s possible that court action may be taken against the four and a judge will decide the penalty. This may be the first time court action has been taken in the Revelstoke area for snowmobiling in a caribou closure.
However, Caravetta says overall most people have been compliant with the closures.
“I believe word is out that we fly regularly.”
Conservation officers patrol caribou closures by air, roughly once a week.
In previously cases, if caught, fines were $575 and enforcement officers had the right to impound machines.
Although no tickets were handed out last year, conservation officers did find machine tracks in caribou closures in the Revelstoke area.
In 2015, there were 24 enforcement acts.
In January, conservation officer Dan Bartol for Revelstoke area was quoted in a previous article saying, “It only takes one snowmobile to cause significant disturbance to caribou.”