An Alberta man was fined nearly $1,000 after a YouTube video showed him illegally driving a truck through the North Saskatchewan River.
On March 17, a Rocky Mountain House Provincial Court judge charged Ryan Halyk, 32, for driving a highway vehicle in a restricted area.
“Albertans expect that we manage public lands to prevent abuse,” said Mel Knight, Minister of Sustainable Resource Development in a prepared statement. “Our staff monitors recreational activities on public land. In this case, staff used social media to gather evidence and lay charges.”
Sustainable Resource staff saw the YouTube video on October 22, 2009. The four-minute video showed several vehicles being operated illegally within the Bighorn Backcountry’s Kiska-Willson Forest Land Use Zone.
The trails Halyk was driving on are maintained for off-highway vehicles and motorcycles by local volunteer associations. The trails may be damaged by large trucks, such as the one used in this offence.
Halyk pleaded guilty to “operating an on-highway vehicle within a Forest Land Use Zone.” He was fined $800, plus a $120 victim surcharge.
Driving motorized vehicles in water bodies can negatively impact riparian areas, fish habitat and downstream water quality. During the fall, this area of the North Saskatchewan River is home to spawning mountain whitefish and bull trout. Motorized vehicles can crush the sensitive eggs or smother them with sediment.