BCCOS officer Steve Petrovcic, BC Parks Ranger Jamie Godfrey and RCMP Cpl. Dan Jinda near Mt. Washington on Jan. 24. Photo supplied by BCCOS.

BCCOS officer Steve Petrovcic, BC Parks Ranger Jamie Godfrey and RCMP Cpl. Dan Jinda near Mt. Washington on Jan. 24. Photo supplied by BCCOS.

Conservation officers hold snowmobile compliance check at Mt. Washington

One in twelve riders fully compliant at January check

Snowmobiling on Vancouver Island seems to be growing in popularity despite the pandemic, prompting officials to ask new riders do their research before heading out into the backcountry.

On Jan. 24, the BC Conservation Officer Service, RCMP and BC Parks held a joint enforcement and education day for snowmobilers near Mt. Washington.

“The primary objective was trying to promote compliance through education and outreach,” said conservation officer Steve Petrovcic. “We want folks to be doing their research, making sure they know what’s required for their desired operation and the land base they want to be operating on and to certainly be aware of where park boundaries are so they’re not operating within the provincial park.”

The RCMP were concerned with operators riding on Strathcona Parkway, the road leading up to the Mt. Washington ski area from Highway 19. BC Parks and BCCOS were concerned with where operators were riding. Strathcona Provincial Park is off-limits to snowmobilers, but the lands adjacent to the park fall under different jurisdiction. The Mid-Island Sno Blazers snowmobile club has an agreement with Mosaic Forest Management to allow riders to access certain lands.

Petrovcic said the officers met with a dozen snowmobiler operators, only one of which was in compliance.

“Some had openly admitted they hadn’t done any research, they weren’t aware of the land status and thought it was crown land. Clearly some folks had not done any homework.

“The folks we spoke with on that particular morning, only one or two were somewhat familiar with the avalanche and backcountry snow stability concerns,” Petrovcic added. “When we get these funny temperature changes it’s a melt-freeze layer and it can really create a serious unstable snowload and it’s something that’s really important that backcountry travellers are aware of.”

With more people venturing out into the backcountry, it becomes more important that they are aware of the risks associated with those kinds of activities. Vancouver Island has had multiple avalanches within the past few months, and the rapid changes between low and high temperatures can create unstable snowpack in the alpine and sub-alpine regions.

Russell Janssen, president of the Mid-Island Sno Blazers recommends a minimum of an avalanche probe, beacon and shovel when riding. He also says that avalanche safety gear is one thing not to skimp on.

“We’re mentioning to people about avalanches,” Janssen said. “We try to keep people aware, making sure they’ve got the proper equipment…You can buy a $30 shovel or the $100 shovel. What’s going to have better results?”

Despite COVID-19, the club has seen a jump in membership. The Mid-Island Sno Blazers saw a jump between around 112 members in 2019/20 to over 200 this year. The North Island club saw a similar jump. With the recent snowfalls and cold weather, conditions are improving for snowmobilers on the Island.

“It’s been good,” Janssen said. “We’re starting to get the snow we wish we had in early January and December. The season’s not over yet.”

Though not all the riders stopped on Jan. 24 were club members, the clubs are looking for more riders to join. This year, there seems to be a large number of people who are interested in snowmobiling on the Island.

“We’ve seen a huge influx of riders this year,” said Janssen. “A lot of it is to do with COVID, people are not travelling and either buying sleds or going backcountry skiing. All winter activities are going up.”

New riders can join their local snowmobile clubs online.

RELATED: North Island Snowmobile Association sees more riders despite COVID-19

Searchers guide cold, wet snowmobilers safely out of wilderness near Mt. Washington



marc.kitteringham@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Campbell RiverConservationMount Washington

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Doug Routley is the chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act. (File photo)
Routley selected chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA acknowledges there will be a lot of material to process

Amanda Vance, executive director of the DDBIA, said the business organization will host a workshop for its members on how to deal with customers who refuse to wear masks. (File photo)
Workshop to help Duncan businesses deal with customers refusing to wear masks

DDBIA says businesses continue to deal with anti-maskers

The Raptors Rescue Society will receive $387,350 from the province to help construct its planned Education Centre. (File photo)
Raptors Rescue Society to receive $387,350 from province

Funding to be used for new Education Centre

Police are investigating after a man was killed at a home on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Police investigating early-morning murder in Duncan

One arrested after man killed at Cowichan Lake Road home

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

A health-care worker looks at a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Palais de Congress site as Quebec begins mass vaccinations based on age across the province, Monday, March 1, 2021 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Nearly 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses arriving in Canada this week: Anand

Anita Anand says she’s received assurances from the vaccine manufacturer

(Black Press file photo)
Agassiz boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Dr. Amit Desai of St. Francis Hospital receives a COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 17. (Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan)
B.C. has now vaccinated more people from COVID-19 than total confirmed cases

B.C. has reached a milestone, vaccinating roughly 1.6% of its population from the coronavirus

Nanaimo RCMP are looking for a suspect who smashed the window of an adult toy store and made off with more than $1,200 in merchandise. (File photo)
Vancouver Island sex shop out $1,200 in merchandise after suspect steals ‘colossal’ product

Suspect smashed window of Nanaimo store, cutting himself in the process

Riverside Calvary Church in Walnut Grove. (Langley Advance Times file)
B.C. is ‘stereotyping’ churches as riskier for COVID than other spaces, lawyer argues

Judge said that freedom of expression, religion are not at issue in the case

B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell gets acquainted with Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Kim Baird’s 10-month-old daughter Sophia, husband Steve and four-year-old Amy at the B.C. legislature before a ceremony to endorse the Tsawwassen Treaty, Oct. 15, 2007. (Sharon Tiffin/Black Press)
Indigenous consent comes first and last for B.C. industrial projects

Environment minister can still approve permits without consent

B.C.’s court of appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Kootenay man appeals 7-year conviction for New Year’s Eve kidnapping, beating

Brandon Coons, 27, was convicted on five charges, including assault with a weapon

Nootka Sound RCMP responded to a workplace fatality report south of Gold River on Monday morning. (Campbell River Mirror photo)
One dead in workplace accident at Gold River logging site

The RCMP and Work Safe BC are investigating the incident at Western Forest Product’s TFL 19

Most Read