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

Pluvio Restaurant has temporarily closed due to a staff member testing positive for COVID-19. (Andrew Bailey photo)
Ucluelet’s Pluvio Restaurant announces positive COVID-19 test

Ucluelet mayor commends business for transparency.

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

Dan Law is Tofino’s new mayor. (Westerly file photo)
UPDATED: Dan Law elected mayor of Tofino

Cathy Thicke and Jacky Challenger earn council seats.

District of Tofino election official Jayson Towers and election deputy chief Cass Spence welcome Tofitians to the polls. (Nora O’Malley photo)
TOFINO BY-ELECTION 2021: General voting day is today

Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Tofino Community Hall

Nelly and Jens Heyduck hold samples of their Ahoy Bags made from discarded sails. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Ucluelet’s Ahoy Bags up for two Small Business BC Awards

German-Canadian wife and husband team transform old sails into one-of-a-kind beach bags

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Most Read