NEWS RELEASE · 27th May 2010
Ministry of Environment
The multi-agency compliance blitz conducted over the May long weekend resulted in numerous warnings and tickets being issued but the majority of recreational enthusiasts were found to be in compliance with public safety and environmental regulations, Environment Minister Barry Penner announced today.
"Targeted patrols are an effective way to encourage people to obey regulations that protect public safety and the health of our great outdoors," said Penner. "I'm pleased most people were found in compliance during the long weekend blitz, but unfortunately there always seems to be some bad actors."
The Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Forests and Range, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts and the RCMP partnered to patrol recreation sites and forest service roads to ensure people were enjoying recreational activities safely and responsibly.
Officers checked for compliance with public safety and environmental regulations in relation to off-road vehicle use (ATVs, 4X4s, dirt- bikes), camping, boating and fishing. Recreation sites with a history of problems were targeted for extra enforcement.
Over four days, officers conducted checks in more than 150 recreation sites across B.C. More than 5,000 people were checked for compliance, with 88 per cent of those checked found to be in compliance.
In total, 339 warnings were issued and 110 tickets were given out. Some examples of non-compliance included operating a motor vehicle while impaired, open liquor in a vehicle, mud bogging, and contravention of campfire burning restrictions.
"We want to make sure people enjoy the natural beauty of British Columbia responsibly," said Tourism, Culture and the Arts Minister Kevin Krueger. "With over 2,000 recreation sites and trails in B.C., compliance blitzes like the one this past weekend are vital to educate visitors on proper outdoor recreation behaviour and ensure that all users have a safe experience."
"We will continue to be vigilant in protecting British Columbia's forests throughout the summer," said Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell. "People who violate campfire bans or use off-road vehicles recklessly and threaten our forests will be held responsible."
The Conservation Officer Service (COS) is the enforcement program of the Ministry of Environment. In collaboration with its partners, the COS provides compliance and enforcement, environmental stewardship and public safety services. The COS also manages wildlife/human conflicts where there is a risk to public safety or property damage.
Last year, Ministry of Environment compliance and enforcement actions resulted in a total of 34 court convictions, 2,181 tickets and more than $1.1 million in fines.
Since April 1, fire crews have responded to 230 wildfires, the great majority of which were human-caused. The public is reminded that anyone found in contravention of a burning restriction can be fined up to $345 or held responsible for suppression costs if their negligence results in a wildfire. To report a wildfire or unattended campfire, call *5555 on most cellular networks.
To report known or suspected violations of fisheries, wildlife, or environmental protection laws anonymously, call the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line: 1-877 952-7277 (RAPP).