Police step up enforcement on Harrison roads

May long weekend campers urged to enjoy outdoors responsibly

If you go out in the woods this weekend, be safe.

That’s the message RCMP are sending out in advance of the May long weekend, typically the first big camping weekend of the summer.

Agassiz RCMP Sgt. Stu Falebrinza recently addressed Harrison council, assuring them that police enforcement would be heightened through the summer in Harrison Hot Springs, starting in May.

An influx of tourist activity usually leads to an increase in police call outs, Search and Rescue calls, traffic incidents and law violations.

The Upper Fraser Valley RCMP will be focusing on a number of outdoor areas, including Chilliwack Lake, Cultus Lake and several B.C. Park campgrounds.

They’ll be using the assistance of groups such as Citizens on Patrol, as well. The intention is to reduce the number of dangerous incidents, to make recreation areas safer for everyone who chooses to use them.

“Last year, we unfortunately experienced several calls with Search and Rescue for lost hikers, ATV accidents, and fishing incidents,” says Corporal Tammy Hollingsworth.  “We are very hopeful this year will be different and the awareness level, due to last year’s tragedies, will be heightened for this year.”

The RCMP will be taking their usual ‘zero tolerance’ approach to long weekend and summer policing and will be strongly enforcing all liquor, drug and firearms related laws.  Open liquor will be seized and persons found in possession of open liquor in a public place will be subject to fines and legal action.

The RCMP will also be enforcing all laws applicable to the Small Vessel and Regulations Act in and around our local lakes and rivers.  As well, the public is reminded of the overnight camping and parking ban in effect between the Vedder Bridge and Tamihi along Chilliwack Lake Road. No camping is permitted there between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m.

And if boating is in your weekend plans, play safe.

“Too many lives were lost last year were due to people not wearing life jackets,” says Hollingsworth.  “The level of experience you have with boating or fishing doesn’t matter when the unexpected happens and it’s better to be prepared.  A common problem last year was with fishermen’s waders filling up with water pulling the fishermen down with the force of the current and flow of the river and we definitely don’t want to see that happen again this year.”

“Our major focuses this year will be patrolling the forest service roads on our ATV’s and patrolling the lakes in our boats,” says Corporal Tammy Hollingsworth.  “Impaired driving and impaired operation of vessels has proven to be a problem in the past that we are well aware of.  We want to ensure the safe operation of these vehicles and vessels to prevent tragedies from happening.”

Speed enforcement and road blocks will also be scattered throughout our area.