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 Berwick Retirement Communities’ 2021 Spin-A-Thon event on Feb. 23 raised more than $7,100 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Berwick Spin-A-Thon raises more than $7,000 for Heart and Stroke Foundation

Two centenarians among participants in second annual all-day pedal event

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)
ATM at North Saanich high school torched during early morning break-and-enter

Police dogs searched the exterior and interior of the school

Victoria’s Swartz Bay terminal. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries offers cheaper, prepaid fare options

Ferry service preparing for busy terminals when travel restrictions are lifted

Victoria Police Department vehicle outside the headquarters building. VicPD (Black Press Media file photo)
Man arrested after Victoria restaurant worker punched, thrown to the ground

Police say woman was found lying on the sidewalk with non-life threatening injuries

Victoria police are investigating after several vehicles were smashed and a basement was flooded along lower Cook Street March 2. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police investigating smashed vehicles, flooded basement on Cook Street

Police seeking witnesses, footage of several ‘mischief’ incidents

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

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

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Intiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

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

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforecment, conservation missions

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

Most Read