Snowmobiling in B.C.
Provincial Caribou Recovery ProgramRecreation activities can disturb caribou and cause them to leave their preferred habitats for less desirable sites. Learn more about recovery below.
Provincial Caribou Recovery Program
British Columbia’s natural splendor and biological diversity serves as a backdrop to a host of world class outdoor recreation opportunities. The Province of B.C. balances the use of these landscapes to help protect human and environmental health and safety. Before visiting these areas, snowmobile operators must familiarize themselves with rules of use to ensure a positive and safe experience for everyone.
Outdoor recreation laws and agreements are in place across B.C. to proactively address the social and environmental issues that can arise on the land-base. Failure to comply with laws and agreements can lead to fines, equipment seizures, and area closures.
Caribou Habitat & Regional Protected Area Closures
The presence of snowmobilers can stress caribou and cause them to move into less suitable habitat where foraging is not as efficient or where steeper terrain may cause avalanche hazards. The unnecessary movement of caribou may also deplete their energy reserves during critical times. Predators utilize anthropogenic disturbances (roads, seismic lines, trails) with more efficiency, allowing travel into caribou ranges. For these reasons there are regional protected area closures.
Learn more about safe and responsible snowmobile practices:
Backcountry users should work together to reduce impacts sensitive ecosystems, wildlife disturbances and other commercial or public users. Easy ways to do this are:
- Take care of and respect trails
- Respect other users of trails
- Avoid damaging vegetation by riding only where snow is greater than 30cm deep
- Do not approach, follow, or harm any wildlife
- Leave tracks not trash
- Bring out everything you bring in
- Avoid endangering yourself or others by avoiding high-risk activities such as high marking in avalanche prone areas that are being used by other backcountry users
- Actively seek out local recreation maps for the area you will be visiting
- Respect and protect all local land use signage
- Avoid entering designated non-motorized areas
- Avoid helicopter landing areas
- Respect other users and help them when in need
- Educate other sledders of the importance of supporting land use agreements
- There is zero tolerance with respect to impaired riding
- Regulations on sled registration and use are different in various areas, check with natural resource and law enforcement agencies, and snowmobile dealers or clubs in the area to make sure your ride results in legal and hassle-free snowmobiling
For more information about current avalanche conditions, equipment, and training courses visit the Canadian Avalanche Association.
Resources for Snowmobilers
- A Snowmobilers Guide to Environmental Stewardship in B.C. (PDF)
- British Columbia Snowmobile Federation Club Membership (PDF)
- A Strategy to Manage Backcountry Recreation in Relation to Wildlife and Habitats (PDF)
- Snowmobiling and Caribou in British Columbia (PDF)
- Snowmobile - Mountain Caribou Interactions: Perceptions and Trends in Caribou Displacement (PDF)