Users of off-road vehicles, including ATV riders, are reminded to obey new alpine vehicle restrictions now in place. Prohibitions under the Wildlife Act now require all motor vehicles (excluding snowmobiles) operating above 1,700 metres in the Thompson and Okanagan regions to stay on existing road and trails.
Sensitive alpine environments occur frequently within the Thompson-Okanagan Region. These habitats support unique ecological plant communities and provide important summer and spring habitat for grizzly bear, mule deer, mountain goats and sheep. There has been an increase in off-road vehicle use in these areas, and the new “stay on roads and trails” restriction is designed to promote sustainable trail riding and curtail riding habitats that results in wildlife harassment and displacement.
An existing road or trail is defined as:
- A road or trail with a paved surface.
- A cross-country or downhill ski route marked in a ski area by the owner of the ski area.
- A road used for logging or mining.
- A road or trail used for access to fences, power lines, wind generators, or communication towers.
- A trail on which there is no vegetation except on a strip that, if present, can be straddled by a 4-wheel vehicle.
In addition to these general provisions, there are alpine motor vehicle closures in place under the Wildlife Act in the Lillooet area, where the operation of all motor vehicles is prohibited above 1,920 metres. This specific closure occurs in the following areas: China Head Mountain (excluding Yalakom-Big Bar road), Nine Mile Ridge, Red and French Mountain and Hogback Mountain.
Anyone who damages an ecosystem on Crown land may be subject to a penalty of up to $100,000, one year in jail, or both. Further information with respect to motor vehicle restrictions can be found: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/wildlife/hunting/regulations/
To view a map of the Lillooet closures, visit: https://www.flickr.com/gp/bcgovphotos/Qfc05y
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations