On Dec. 30 I was leading a snowshoe trip to Croteau Lake for the Comox District Mountaineering Club.
Nine of us headed out from the Raven Lodge, crossed Paradise Meadows and started the climb to Battleship Lake.
We were all very disappointed to see that snowmobilers had gained illegal access to Strathcona Park and basically trashed the pristine surface of the frozen lake with criss-crossing trails of churned up snow. Farther down the lake the tracks were even more tightly woven with hardly any space left between them.
One of the main attractions for people who get around in the back country of Strathcona Park on snowshoes and skis is the pristine beauty of the area. It is disappointing to see that a few ignorant and inconsiderate snowmobilers can so spoil this attraction in a few minutes of what might be fun for them. Sure, these tracks will be covered when we have another 20 or 30 cm of fresh snow, but in the meantime, we have to look at this mess every time we head out on Battleship Lake. Also, the same inconsiderate individuals might be at it again when the lake is next looking pristine.
Some snowmobilers seem to completely ignore the Strathcona Park restrictions, as there are currently so many tracks across the summit area of Mount Drabble that it would be hard to find any area in which to make fresh tracks. Also Carey Ridge, which is well into the park and most probably accessed via TimberWest roads and the Cruickshank Main, has numerous snowmobile tracks across the ridge.
These are extracts from the BC Parks PDF file about winter recreation and snowmobiling relating to Strathcona Park:
“Those interested in snowmobiling near Strathcona Park are encouraged to contact local snowmobile clubs for information about where to go in this region. While it is hoped the need won’t arise, BC Parks and the RCMP are prepared to pursue charges and issue fines for non-compliance: The public is encouraged to report any witnessed snowmobile entry into Strathcona Provincial Park to BC Parks staff at 250 337-2405.”
The following is a link to information about snowmobile use in Strathcona Park: bit.ly/1JY3OGO
Please read it, and please respect our parks.
Tim Penney, VP,
Comox District Mountaineering Club