Parks Canada is investigating after four snowmobilers had to be rescued after they entered Glacier National Park and got stuck on Saturday.
“Our Parks Canada wardens went out this morning and flew into the park,” said Jacolyn Daniluck, a spokesperson for Glacier National Park, on Tuesday afternoon. “They confirmed there were four snowmobiles stuck within the boundary of the park.”
Golden-Field RCMP say that on Saturday, Jan. 16, at around 5:30 p.m. they were advised that four snowmobilers were stranded near Quartz Creek, west of Golden, and required a helicopter rescue.
Golden and District Search & Rescue was mobilized and traveled to the area using snowmobiles. The found the men uninjured at a nearby cabin and escorted them back to their vehicle at the staging area.
“The group is believed to have crossed into Glacier National Park, at which time they became stuck and unable to get out,” said Cst. Spencer Lainchbury, a spokesperson for the Golden-Field RCMP.
On Tuesday, Jan. 19, the park wardens flew into the area and confirmed the presence of the snowmobiles. The snowmobiles were flown out of the area; the men will be charged the cost of rescuing their machines.
“Now that we have the sleds out, there is an investigation happening,” said Daniluck. “They will have to make a decision whether or not the snowmobilers are charged under the National Parks Act.”
The Quartz Creek snowmobiling area is located near the northeastern boundary of the park. Daniluck said the park boundary runs along the height of the land in the area and that snowmobilers often ride near the boundary, following the ridge top. She didn’t know how far into the park the snowmobilers went.
“If they cross over down to the other side, it just drops off into the park,” she said.
It is illegal to snowmobile in national parks and violators can be fined up to $25,000.
Signs indicating the park boundary are placed along the ridge. New signs saying “no snowmobiling or motorized vehicles beyond this point” were erected this summer, said Daniluck.
“Parks Canada has been working with the Golden snowmobile Club to enhance the messaging about people knowing where the park boundary is so people don’t snowmobile there,” she said.
There have been two other instances of snowmobilers entering the national park, said Daniluck.
“Snowmobiling is not permitted in Glacier National Park. Locally, everyone knows that, however the greater Canadian audience may not know that,” she said. “We also remind snowmobilers to check maps at provincial trailheads to make sure they’re not entering a national park.”