Crossing snowmobile tracks in the non-motorized zone. Photo Credit: Peter Gumplinger

Crossing snowmobile tracks in the non-motorized zone. Photo Credit: Peter Gumplinger

The BC government estimates there are 200,000 off-road vehicles in British Columbia. And while not all are used for outdoor recreation, chances are you’ve come across a motorized vehicle while spending time in a provincial park.

The mandatory registration requirements for all off-road vehicles came into effect in 2015 (snowmobiles have been registered in BC since the 1970s), and were created to ensure these vehicles are driven in a safe and responsible manner—and to help target those who endanger others or damage sensitive habitats.

But despite the increased accountability, irresponsible ORV owners are still entering off-limits areas and damaging the beauty and integrity of BC’s wilderness.

What should I do if I spot an unauthorized motor vehicle in a BC provincial park?

Whether you spot the tracks, smell the exhaust, or see a snowmobile, ATV, motorcycle, or similar vehicle in action, we want to know. Please collect as many details as possible—dates, times, photos, GPS coordinates, and registration plate/sticker numbers are especially helpful—and fill out our survey. The more we know about the type and frequency of unauthorized motorized recreation in our parks, the better equipped we are to find solutions.

Is motorized recreation allowed in BC provincial parks?

It depends on the park. Some, like Strathcona Provincial Park and Kokanee Glacier Park, prohibit all motorized recreation (including snowmobiles), while others have seasonal opportunities or designated areas. The official BC Parks maps clearly define the areas where motorized recreation is or isn’t allowed.

Should I confront motorized recreation users?

No, we don’t advise anyone to confront motorized recreation users. BC Parks is responsible for enforcing the rules. But because budgets are tight and staffing is limited, we, the park users and advocates for the backcountry, are assisting their efforts by reporting our observations.

Are motorized vehicle clubs to blame?

Off-road clubs and associations do a good job of educating their riders about where they can and cannot go, and also about safety and environmental protection in general. The riders you encounter in restricted areas are most likely people who don’t belong to an organized motorized recreation club, and who have no respect for the current laws.


FMCBC Motorized Vehicle in BC Parks Survey