Williams Lake snowmobilers fined $9,000 for riding in protected caribou areas | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Williams Lake snowmobilers fined $9,000 for riding in protected caribou areas

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December 17, 2020 - 3:25 PM

Two Williams Lake men received a $9,050 fine after they were caught snowmobiling in protected mountain caribou areas last year.

In March 2019, the Conservation service and RCMP officer conducted a joint helicopter patrol of snowmobile closures east of Williams Lake, according to a B.C. Conservation Officer Service media release. Two snowmobilers were seen operating within the Grain Creek snowmobile closure near Quesnel Lake. The two operators attempted to evade officers but were eventually arrested near Caribou Lake.

Recreational snowmobiling in illegal areas can displace mountain caribou from high-quality winter habitat, threatening an already endangered population.

More than one million hectares are closed to snowmobilers across B.C. to protect critical mountain caribou habitat, the conservation officer service said. This fine is the largest fine imposed in B.C. provincial court related to caribou closures in a precedent-setting case.

One man was fined $5,050 after being found guilty of operating a snowmobile in a closed area, obstructing a conservation officer and operating a snowmobile in a reckless manner. The other man was fined $4,000 for operating a snowmobile in a closed area.

A majority of the fines, $8,700, will go to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.

The conservation officer service hopes these significant fines will deter any snowmobilers from a similar incident.

Snowmobile closure patrols will continue throughout this winter season. To report violations, call the RAPP line.

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