Increased fines to $575 for offroad vehicles caught in sensitive areas had been in the works for a while, says Mica Mountain Riders Association (MMRA) director Pierre Dion.
“Some areas have significant issues with people riding in sensitive areas or areas that are out of bounds because the mountain riding community does have designated riding areas to protect mountain caribou so we don’t get an interaction between the two groups.”
On a personal level, he doesn’t see it as a problem and considers it necessary, he says.
“It’s necessary. I think we have to understand that this mountain caribou issue is quite important and we gotta make sure that we ride within our legal riding areas.”
The fines going up is not a negative concern, says Dion, adding that they’re a little disappointed with the progress the Mountain Caribou Recovery Committee is making but notes that’s unrelated to the fine.
The increased fines and sensitive habitat are mostly for the mountain caribou recovery program, he says, although it also applies to parks, unless otherwise noted.
Dion says it’s really important that people coming into their area know where they can and can’t go, adding that the government maps are GPS compatible.
“Riding out of bounds affects us all. The club gets hit at our general meetings with government. So obviously we want to promote inbound riding all the time.”
Joining a club will help people be better aware of the rules, with regular updates through their email list, but that’s just a small part of it.
“Joining the clubs is becoming extremely important because as we deal with government and the ministry, one of the questions that always comes up is ‘how many members in your club?’ Obviously, a club that has 10-15 members doesn’t have as much clout as a club with two to four hundred members.”