Okanagan residents were quick to point out that yesterday’s ATV accident-rescue near Peachland didn’t sit right with them.
The issue — ATVs are currently banned from the backcountry in B.C.
Multiple comments came in from readers who pointed that out and called for the man recovering in hospital to be fined. The same point was also questioned by his rescuers who, in debriefing last night, wondered why this ATV user was out in the backcountry in the first place.
Penticton Search and Rescue president Dale Jorgensen said his team reached out to the government for clarification on the rules and were somewhat surprised to learn that the man was actually allowed in the backcountry.
As it turns out, this ATV was exempt from the ban in the Kamloops Fire Centre as the man was riding as part of a commercial backcountry tour operation.
Commercial operations are exempt under this ban as commercial operators are expected to be responsible with fire safety in the backcountry.
According to the BC Wildfire Service, the off-road vehicle ban includes the following exceptions;
- The prohibition of off-road vehicles and on-highway vehicles does not apply to private lands or national parks.
- It also does not apply to emergency responders or to agriculture or commercial/industrial users who operate vehicles for farming, emergency response or business purposes.
As for the injured man, he rolled down a small embankment off a deactivated forest-service road in the area of Darke Lake near Peachland.
The man was heli-winched to safety by the Vernon Search and Rescue team before being transferred to a waiting ambulance and taken to hospital.
The man reportedly suffered non-life-threatening injuries.