Snowmobile community ensures sustainable future for caribou habitat

The volunteer-based, organized snowmobile community spends thousands of hours, dollars and time annually ensuring a sustainable future

Editor, The Times:

“Re: Helicopter skiers monitor wildlife” in Mar. 19, 2012 issue.

The volunteer-based, organized snowmobile community spends thousands of hours, dollars and time annually ensuring a sustainable future for their chosen form of recreation. They get heavily involved in the promotion of many aspects that surround backcountry recreation; wildlife, environmental and safety to name a few, and most clubs operating near or within caribou habitat do so under Stewardship Management Agreements (SMA) with provincial ministries that dictate operations and procedures within potential caribou habitat.

Clubs educate snowmobile users active in each of the riding areas and trails as much as possible. This includes informing users of the closed areas, open area boundaries and trail routes, providing signage and often conducting patrols of the areas. Many clubs in B.C. operate volunteer and or paid programs that have members or staff, patrol these boundaries on a regular basis and report infractions or replace missing signage, etc. Volunteer or not, this all comes at a high cost to the clubs but is a great tool in the compliance and success of the wildlife boundary restrictions.

Local and provincial clubs also work with their members and other snowmobile users of the SMA areas to ensure that the Operating Practices for Snowmobiling in Mountain Caribou Habitat, as outlined, are adhered to and practiced by all riders.

Monitoring for compliance relating to the legislated closures is a shared responsibility between the Ministry of Environment and local clubs.

The goal of the education, communication and patrol efforts is to promote compliance for the legislative closures and the compliance with the operating practices and secure a future for the mountain caribou and the recreating public.

Valemount Area Recreation Development Association