Four snowmobilers face potential fines and a hefty rescue price tag after their machines got stuck over the weekend in Glacier National Park, where snowmobiling is forbidden.
The four men — three from Alberta and one from Saskatchewan — became stranded in the national park near Golden, B.C., on Saturday and needed to be rescued, according to Parks Canada.
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RCMP said they were advised on Saturday that the group was stranded and required a helicopter to rescue them.
Instead, a search and rescue team from Golden headed out on snowmobiles and found the group of four, who were uninjured and waiting at an area cabin.
Const. Spencer Lainchbury said the group is believed to have crossed into Glacier National Park when they got stuck and were unable to get their snowmobiles out.
The snowmobiles were removed Tuesday morning by helicopter, said Jacolyn Daniluck, a communications officer with Glacier National Park, and the four men will have to pay for the cost of the extrication.
They may also be charged under the National Parks Act, which could bring fines as high as $25,000.
This is the third case of snowmobilers illegally entering Glacier National Park park this winter, according to Daniluck.
"As a world leader in conservation, Parks Canada is making sure that the parks are being kept safe and they are dedicated to the people of Canada," she said.
"We want them maintained and unimpaired for future generations, and motorized vehicles like snowmobiles can have a negative impact on the ecosystem."
Daniluck said Parks Canada is still investigating whether the sledders intentionally crossed into the national park.
Joanne Sweeting, Tourism Golden's executive director, played down the frequency of snowmobilers intruding on the restricted area.
"We welcome thousands of snowmobilers every year and without incident," she said. "It's something that happens very rarely."