There is a new auxiliary conservation officer in the Revelstoke area. At least, until March.
Zeb Martin, an auxiliary B.C. conservation officer has been primarily hired for monitoring caribou closures in the Revelstoke area and providing education to the public. However, Martin still lives in Golden, B.C.
Martin is a seasonal officer hired to augment the full time staff in order to maintain enhanced coverage, said a spokesperson for Conservation Officer Services.
“Many communities, including Revelstoke want their own conservation officer – COs protect, educate and are important members of community,” the statement said. “While additional officers were added to the force we cannot meet the desire of every community for an officer at this time. The Conservation Officer Service considers a number of factors when determining where the most urgent safety needs exist – call volume, geographic location and officer safety among others.”
Since 2009, the B.C. government has closed areas to snowmobile use across Mountain Caribou ranges. From midnight Dec. 31 to Apr. 15, there are closures in Frisby, Sale, Keystone/Standard Basin and Caribou Basin. Detailed maps of areas closed can be found at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/wildlife/snowmobile-closures/
If caught, fines are $575 and enforcement officers have the right to impound machines.
Officers patrol the boundary of the closed areas on snowmobiles and above via helicopter. They look for rule breakers and tracks.
“We also patrol parking lots to provide information,” says Dan Bartol, another conservation officer.
So far, Bartol says no tickets have been handed out this year. And they haven’t seen any snowmobile tracks in closed areas. Although no tickets were handed out last year, they did find machine tracks.
In 2015, there were 24 enforcement acts.
“It only takes one snowmobile to cause significant disturbance to caribou,” says Bartol.
Revelstoke has been without a conservation officer since 2013.
The conservation officer based in Revelstoke prior to 2013 was responsible for the area from Shelter Bay to Mica Dam.