While the government should do its best to make British Columbia’s backcountry a safe place for snowmobilers, it’s still up to individuals to make responsible decisions, solicitor general Kash Heed said yesterday.

However, he did not rule out future regulation to help avoid deaths like that of two snowmobilers caught in an avalanche on Saturday, along with nearly 200 others who survived.

“At the end of the day, these people that make the decision on their own to enter the backcountry and engage in that behaviour ... It’s going to be difficult for us to regulate,” Heed said.

It is cause for concern that experienced riders will ignore a high-risk avalanche warning, Heed added, but the province simply doesn’t have the means to patrol every snow-covered hill and people should be able to enjoy the winter.

Despite the deaths of Curtis Reynolds and Shay Snortland, both Alberta residents, prohibiting or limiting backcountry snowmobiling “is not a desired solution,” according to Heed.

But he said that if people continue to put themselves at risk, the government “will have to step up its efforts.”

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