The following letter is from Andy Smith, Strathcona Area Supervisor for BC Parks, West Coast Region:
January 21, 2016
RE: Unauthorized Use of Snowmobiles in Strathcona Provincial Park
This is a long standing issue that we have had to deal with for many years and at one point, spending thousands and thousands of dollars each year, along with considerable time, flying and patrolling the park to try and catch offenders. It eventually became apparent that due to logistics, timing, along with budget and staffing limitations, that we were not getting the enforcement/compliance results we needed (we have never been able to pursue any charges to date due to lack of evidence and information). When we fly the park looking for culprits the snowmobilers hear about it instantly and pass the word along making it simple to move outside the boundaries until we leave. Even when we do find someone (this has happened occasionally) it has been a problem tracking the snowmobile without losing sight, all the way back to a vehicle, in order to get a licence number to trace the owner – again a very difficult and almost impossible task. Should we lose sight of a snowmobile we are challenged with lack of evidence to prove someone was indeed in the park at that time.
We have sent letters to all the snowmobile clubs requesting that they distribute information about staying out of Strathcona Park. The clubs have no problem complying and they suspect that it isn’t members that are entering the park but rather, just independent snowmobilers who have no respect for the current laws.
Due to the size of Strathcona Park, coupled with our limited resources, we face a huge enforcement challenge and unfortunately must rely on the public to help us monitor and gather the evidence we need to pursue any charges, i.e. take pictures, record dates and times, confirm gps coordinates, record licence plates on vehicles and/or on the machine (new law requires licences now when operating on public lands – if of course, owners obey that law).
I wish we had a simple solution, but we don’t . I do however appreciate everyone’s support by helping to spread the word, that this activity is not accepted by the general public. Perhaps once the word spreads, the threat of more ears and eyes monitoring the park, will help reduce/minimize this problem.
Thank you for your continued support