Confusion over new conservation officer for Revelstoke area

No, it turns out, Revelstoke doesn’t have a new conservation officer.  

File photo: Caribou are released into a maternal pen as part of the Revelstoke Caribou Rearing in the Wild penning project, which is located on the west shore of Lake Revelstoke. Photo: Revelstoke Caribou Rearing in the Wild/file photo

There seems to be some confusion over a report about a new, temporary, auxiliary conservation officer for Revelstoke.

The Mountaineer began following-up after seeing a media report that conservation officer Zeb Martin would provide temporary conservation efforts in the Revelstoke area. According to the report, Martin would only provide conservation efforts until March and that work would mainly focus on monitoring caribou closures.

David Karn, a media spokesperson for the BC Ministry of Environment (the government branch that looks after the Conservation Officer Service), said no new conservation officer has been assigned for the Revelstoke area. It turns out the conservation efforts may be part of the provincial Caribou Recovery Program, which falls under the forests ministry. The Mountaineer has reached out to the forests ministry and is waiting to confirm information about the possible role of conservation officers in assisting with caribou conservation efforts in the Revelstoke area.

That means Revelstoke will continue to do without a local conservation officer, even on a temporary basis. A statement from the Conservation Officer Service says years of under-staffing have left many concerned about issues ranging from human-wildlife conflict, to poaching, to the threat of invasive species. According to the statement the CO service tries to strike a balance, but deployment decisions are based on the most urgent assessed needs.

“Many communities, including Revelstoke, want their own conservation officer — COs protect, educate and are important members of the community. While additional officers were added to the force we cannot meet the desire of every community for an officer at this time,” said the statement.

The Mountaineer is continuing to follow-up on this story and will provide more details about the possible connection between conservation and the Caribou Recovery Program as it becomes available.

Melissa Jameson is the civic affairs reporter for the Revelstoke Mountaineer. She handles the newsy side of goings on about Revelstoke. Got a news tip? Feel free to contact Melissa at melissa@revelstokemountaineer.com