By Andru McCracken

In an unprecedented move, the Village of McBride’s mayor and council have asked tourists, snowmobilers, hikers and even people visiting family to stay at home.

“Village Council, like many leaders throughout the world, are making this extraordinary request in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19,” said Eugene Runtz on March 23rd.

“McBride’s population has a large percentage of seniors and the community is not close
to a major medical centre. The simplest thing you can do to keep McBride safe is stay away for now.”

McBride’s Snowmobile Club will not be grooming local trails in an effort to discourage visitors.

McBride Council asked residents to heed the advice of the province’s health leaders and professionals.

“We respectfully ask that McBride residents practice social distancing or self-isolate during this crisis,” said Runtz.

The Valemount and Area Recreation Development Association stopped grooming snowmobile trails on March 17th and are no longer encouraging people to visit the area.

Valemount and McBride both have mountain snowmobile areas that are kept accessible through grooming. Grooming smooths ruts made by snowmobile traffic and makes access to the areas relatively safe. Eliminating grooming will likely dissuade most snowmobilers from making the trip to these areas.

Valemount’s Chief Administrative Officer Wayne Robinson said that the Village of Valemount has been reiterating the directives of Dr. Bonnie Henry.

“We’re still reminding people the directive is to stay home,” said Robinson.