Snowmobilers at RMR raise questions about protecting city watershed

Snowmobilers that rode into Revelstoke Mountain Resort's terrain via Greeley drainage has raised questions about protecting city watershed.

The City of Revelstoke and province are looking into issues regarding the Greeley Creek drainage after four snowmobilers reportedly used the area to infringe on the boundaries of Revelstoke Mountain Resort.

“It looks like there is no recreational closure in the area so it is something we need to be following up on,” said Brian Mallett, the city’s director of engineering and public works.

Mallett said he was contacted by an official from the Ministry of the Environment who said the Mar. 23 snowmobiling incident was being investigated. Greeley Creek is the source of most of the city’s water. The official said she could not speak about the incident with the press.

The incident has also garnered the attention of the RCMP. “We’re working on running them down,” said Staff Sgt. Jacquie Olsen.

The incident happened on Friday, Mar. 23, at around 2 p.m. when four snowmobilers rode up the Greeley Drainage to the southside of the resort.

“From the south-side of the boundary, they rode to the top of the Stoke chair where they were met by Mountain Operations personnel,” Sarah Windsor, RMR’s spokesperson said in an e-mail. “They were asked to leave but resisted.”

The group was told the RCMP had been contacted but the snowmobilers expressed disregard for them. They took pictures and then took off at high speed back the way they came.

It was later noted they broke the boundary rope at the point where they had accessed the resort.

“Ultimately, they breached Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s controlled recreational area,” said Windsor.  “Due to safety concerns, the resort’s controlled recreational area is closed to public motorized access, as designated by the province. Our primary concern is, and remains, our guests’ safety.”

Mallett said there was no restriction on motorized access to the Greeley drainage “it would be so hard to get through there, they never bothered to do it.”

“Maybe it’s time – machines are getting more powerful and they’re getting to more places than ever before,” he added.

The group’s actions received broad condemnation on popular snowmobile forum snowandmud.com. In a thread devoted to the incident, an overwhelming majority of comments condemned the action. Some worried the incident would give all sledders a bad name.

The ministry official asked that anyone with information about the incident call the Conservation Offices Report All Poachers and Polluters line at 1-877-952-7277.

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