Two Williams Lake men have been fined $9,050 in connection with snowmobiling in March 2019 in an area near Quesnel Lake closed to protect mountain caribou.
According to the Conservation Officer Service (COS) the fines are the largest imposed in B.C. provincial court related to caribou closures in a precedent-setting case for the COS.
Bryce David Bayliff and Brent Gabriel Bayliff, both in their early 30s, were sentenced in Williams Lake Provincial Court on Wednesday, Dec. 16.
Bryce was fined $5,050 after being found guilty of operating a snowmobile in a closed area, obstructing a conservation officer and failing to stop when required to do so.
Bryce originally faced nine charges and a stay of proceedings was entered in six counts.
Brent was fined $4,000 for operating a snowmobile in a closed area. He was initally facing three charges, however, a stay of proceedings was entered in two counts.
The COS said $8,700 of the fines will go to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.
Snowmobiling in an area closed to protect mountain caribou could cost you, as 2 Williams Lake men found out the hard way – to the tune of $9,050. It’s a precedent-setting case for the Conservation Officer Service. More here: https://t.co/of4cKWQvXZ #BCCOS #WilliamsLake pic.twitter.com/l3sfcABwOl
— BC CO Service (@_BCCOS) December 17, 2020
In March 2019, conservation officers and RCMP conducted a joint helicopter patrol of snowmobile closures east of Williams Lake when they observed two snowmobilers operating within the Grain Creek snowmobile closure near the junction at Quesnel Lake.
“The two operators went to significant efforts to evade all attempts by officers to make contact but were eventually arrested near Cariboo Lake,” noted the COS in a news release, adding recreational snowmobiling in illegal areas can displace mountain caribou from high-quality winter habitat, threatening an already endangered population.
Snowmobile closures to protect critical mountain caribou habitat are in place across B.C. — more than one million hectares across the mountain caribou range are closed to motorized winter recreation to support population recovery.
The COS “hopes these significant fines will deter any snowmobilers from a similar incident.”
Snowmobile closure patrols will continue throughout this winter season. To report violations, please call the RAPP line.