Three snowmobilers are a little lighter in their wallets after sledding in a restricted zone near Nakusp.
On Friday BC Conservation Officers patrolling by helicopter spotted three snowmobilers in a restricted zone in the West Kootenay.
The area near Nakusp is closed for protection of mountain caribou.
The conservation officers along with BC Parks personnel spotted fresh snowmobile tracks in the middle of the prohibited area.
The three snowmobilers were issued a total of $1,725 in fines ($575 for each rider) for snowmobiling in a closed area. They were also told to leave the area.
“We stopped, explained the information about the closure, and fines were issued,” says Nathan Smienk, a conservation officer who was on the patrol. “They were co-operative individuals.”
Two of the riders were not from the area, and none were members of any local snowmobile clubs.
The same patrol nabbed four snowmobilers in the Trout Lake area as well.
The [Conservation Officer Service] would like to remind snowmobilers and other recreational users that these closures are in place across the mountain caribou range in B.C. to support the recovery of caribou populations,” said a COS news release. “Please familiarize yourself with these areas.”
Under the mountain caribou recovery implementation plan, scientists recommended over one million hectares across the mountain caribou range be closed to motorized winter recreation to facilitate recovery of caribou populations.
Since 2009, government has closed areas to snowmobile use across the mountain caribou range in order to support population recovery.