Forested areas are still in the depths of winter and, according to Search and Rescue crews, not safe for a casual Sunday drive.
“While the snow piles have retreated and the streets are being cleaned in the valley, winter conditions are still in effect on forestry roads even within sight of the lake,” said Rob Braun, president of the Central Okanagan Search and Rescue Society in a press release.
“Several requests to the RCMP, SAR, and tow truck companies came in Mar.25 weekend of people driving their family vehicles up into the hills only to get stuck in the one-metre of snow that still exists on the back roads, and were unprepared for the conditions they encountered.”
- Freezing temperatures persist away from the valley floor, and after sunset.
- Bring appropriate footwear, clothing for the conditions you will encounter.
- Use appropriately equipped vehicles with sufficient ground clearance and good condition winter tires.
- If you encounter rutted snow trails, the snow depth is only going to increase as you gain elevation, and in the shade of rock bluffs, or trees. Retreat while you still can, even if it means backing up slowly, until you can get to a spot to turn around.
- Know the limits of your vehicle. If the snow depth reaches the bottom height of your bumper, you are probably at your limit.
- Be prepared to shovel your vehicle out, embark with plenty of fuel, carry chains, & know how to put them on, or have other temporary traction aids.
- Leave a trip plan with responsible adults, and have a way to communicate your intentions. Often cell phone reception diminishes rapidly outside of the view of Okanagan Lake.