May 16, 2015 - 4:31 PM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN – As thousands flock to beaches, lakes, parks and campgrounds around the province for the first long weekend of summer, a warning from the people whose job it is to keep them safe.
Conservation officers, natural resource officers and park rangers say they are ramping up patrols this May long weekend.
There will be enhanced enforcement aimed at recreation sites, backcountry access, fishing, boat safety and illegal hunting, according to a media release.
“The hope is the increased presence of conservation officers and the RCMP will help ensure public safety and help protect sensitive ecosystems for future generations to enjoy,” the release says.
Here are some tips and safety information provided by Ministry of Environment:
* Many campgrounds have specified rules and guidelines. Visitors are asked to comply with the posted rules.
* Gates in provincial parks and some recreation sites are closed at 11 p.m., unless otherwise stated. Only registered campers are allowed in campsites after 11 p.m.
* Excessive noise is not permitted. Please remember that sound can travel far in the open air, especially music and loud talking.
* Liquor consumption is prohibited in parks, with the exception of your own campsite.
* Barbecues must be used on the ground unless barbecue attachments are provided on picnic tables.
* To avoid problems with bears, lock your food in your vehicle at night.
* Use the garbage containers provided and maintain a clean campsite. Never feed or approach bears.
* Designated swimming areas within marker buoys are intended to protect
swimmers. All watercraft and water-skiers must stay out of these areas.
* Campfires cannot be larger than 0.5 metres in height and 0.5 metres in diameter (roughly 11/2 feet by 11/2 feet).
* You must maintain a one-metre fireguard around the campfire. A fireguard is a fuel-free
* area where all flammable materials (grass, kindling, etc.) have been removed.
* Never leave your campfire unattended.
* Bring a shovel or keep at least eight litres of water nearby to properly extinguish your campfire.
* Make sure that the campfire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving it for any period of time.
* Ensure that cigarette butts are extinguished in an ashtray and are not tossed away carelessly.
* You may be held accountable for damages and fire suppression costs if your negligence results in a wildfire.
* Members of the public can report wildfires or unattended campfires by calling *5555 on a cellphone or 1 800 663-5555 toll-free.
* Respect the environment when riding off-road vehicles and use trails that are designated for motorized use.
* Most provincial parks are closed to off-road vehicle use unless posted otherwise.
* Operators of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are reminded that these vehicles must be insured if they're driven on forest service roads.
* Keep vehicles out of sensitive sites that are easily damaged, such as wetlands, grasslands, alpine areas and subalpine environments.
* Failure to comply with regulations could result in a fine of $575 or (in more serious cases involving damage) up to $100,000 and a year in jail.
* Make sure you have a valid angling licence and are aware of angling regulations for the waters in your area, including gear and bait restrictions.
* If you are operating a small vessel, ensure that you have your operator's licence with you and be aware of safety regulations for operating small vessels.
* For more information, please visit: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/fish/
Pets must be kept on a leash at all times within provincial parks and in some recreation sites. Pets are not allowed inside park buildings.
The B.C. Wildlife Federation offers a reward up to $2,000 for information leading to the conviction of anyone who breaks wildlife laws, vandalizes private property or contravenes other property laws.
Report suspicious activities and environmental damage to the Conservation Officer Service's toll-free, 24-hour Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1 877 952-RAPP (7277), or call *7277 on your cellphone.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015