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

The Cowichan Capitals traded defenceman Clark Webster to his hometown Summerside Western Capitals. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Hopeful Cowichan Capitals make flurry of deadline deals

Roster bolstered in case BCHL season gets go-ahead

Neurologist and medical educator Dr. Alexandre Henri-Bhargava, seen here speaking at the 2020 Breakfast to Remember in Victoria, will delve into the latest in dementia research during an interactive research event exclusively for attendees of this year’s virtual Breakfast. Access to the March 10 research event is included with the purchase of a Breakfast to Remember ticket. (Kevin Light Photography)
Blast off with Chris Hadfield at Alzheimer Society’s Breakfast to Remember in March

The Society hopes people in all corners of the province will make the most of this opportunity

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Duncan initiates pilot project to deal with graffiti

Project based on a successful one in Port Alberni

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

This was the scene outside North Saanich’s Parkland Secondary School after an attempted but unsuccessful break-and-enter into the school torched an ATM inside of it. Sidney/North Saanich RCMP did not make any arrests and currently lack suspects as the investigation continues. Members of the public who may have witnessed something or possess other information can contact police at (250) 656-3931 or to Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. (Submitted)
Money to burn: burglars torch North Saanich high school ATM

Police dogs searched the exterior and interior of the school after early morning break-and-enter

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

t
Province invests $2M in three Vancouver Island food hubs

Hub network provides shared-use processing facilities to small agri-businesses

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

Most Read