Cranbrook snowmobilers work to protect caribou
A stewardship management agreement between the Cranbrook Snowmobile Club and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations will help protect endangered mountain caribou from snowmobilers.
One of the key elements of the province’s Mountain Caribou Recovery Implementation Plan is managing recreation to reduce human disturbance in mountain caribou habitat. This includes closing areas to snowmobile use.
Under the terms of the stewardship management agreement, the Cranbrook Snowmobile Club and the ministry will be jointly responsible for marking boundaries of the closure areas and will also share compliance monitoring duties and monitoring results. The Conservation Officer Service will be responsible for enforcing the legal closures under the Wildlife Act.
The effectiveness of voluntary closures will also be monitored and both parties will work together to resolve any issues. Snowmobilers also need to avoid areas within two kilometres of a known or suspected location of caribou until the caribou have vacated the area.
“The Cranbrook Snowmobile Club is pleased to sign our first stewardship management agreement, which is one way that snowmobilers can aid in the recovery of mountain caribou populations in the southern Purcells. This agreement is a result of a collaborative effort between the Cranbrook Snowmobile Club and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. Club members will be educating snowmobilers on where to ride and how to respect the caribou in their habitat. The club has also established non-snowmobiling areas, which will be patrolled by volunteers throughout the snowmobile season,” said Doug Hogg, president of the Cranbrook Snowmobile Club.
“The Cranbrook Snowmobile Club has been a consistent volunteer partner with the ministry on caribou habitat stewardship in the southern Purcells. Now with this formal agreement, we can strengthen our work to protect caribou and provide opportunities for the public to snowmobile in the area,” stated Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
“This agreement proves what I’ve always believed: that the vast majority of motorized recreationalists care as much for the environment as anyone does. Congratulations to the Cranbrook Snowmobile Club for your leadership,” added Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines, and MLA for Kootenay East.
In October 2007, the provincial government endorsed the Mountain Caribou Recovery Implementation Plan. Under the Wildlife Act, more than one million hectares have been closed to snowmobile use to protect mountain caribou habitat.
Lead image: Left to right: John Krebs – Director of Resource Management, FLNRO; Doug Hogg – Director with the BC Snowmobile Federation; Bill Bennett, Kootenay East MLA; Mike Plant- President Cranbrook Snowmobile Club; Paul Rasmussen – Regional Executive Director FLNRO.