Off-road vehicles fine increased to help protect sensitive habitats
The penalty for taking a snowmobile or other off-road vehicle into a protected area has been increased significantly.
Effective immediately, the fine is $575, the provincial government said Tuesday, up from either $230 or $345, depending on the violation. The intent is to better protect environmentally-sensitive habitats and species at risk.
The previous fines “did not reflect the effect” the impact violators have had on those areas and species, the province said.
Violation tickets may be issued under the Wildlife Act or the Park Act by police, conservation officers, natural resource officers or park rangers.
Court convictions for snowmobiling in southern mountain caribou habitats also may result in a fine up to $200,000 and six months imprisonment, the province added.
Experts have said the practice makes it easier for predators to hunt the animal by packing down trails into their winter habitat.
“Caribou are considered a species at risk, and protecting caribou habitat ranges is crucial to the survival of the species,” officials said.
“Controlled and limited access to sensitive habitats by off-road vehicles, such as snowmobiles, is the most effective way to protect these areas and wildlife from harmful recreation activities.”
The province has put aside $27 million over three years to establish a caribou recovery program.