Whoever put the Kelowna Snowmobile Club’s groomer out of commission also put back-country rescuers at a disadvantage.
A $150,000 piece of trail-grooming equipment was destroyed Saturday in a fire believed to be intentionally lit some time between 4 p.m. on March 11 and 8:30 a.m. March 12 in the club’s parking lot, said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.
RCMP are dealing with the investigation, and an insurance claim will be filed, but the Central Okanagan Search and Rescue team are sounding alarm bells in the meantime.
“That snowmobile club’s groomer maintained the Graystokes area,” said Ephraim Nowak president and search manager of COSAR.
“It’s quite a blow to them and quite a blow to those who use the trail.”
It will also be a problem if there’s need for a rescue, adding time to what may otherwise be a swift operation.
“If we do have a rescue it will be a rough ride,” said Nowak.
“If we had to do a rescue at night, or if the cloud cover was low, we wouldn’t be able to use the helicopter and that (would hamper) search and rescue efforts.”
He added it’s disheartening that someone would do something to an organization that goes above and beyond to give to their community.
That giving spirit, said Nowak, was on display last night when the snowmobile club assisted them in a rescue.
“That just shows their support for community,” he said.
The incident took place in the area of Graystokes Forest Service Road (FSR) and Bug FSR
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300. Remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leaving a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net or by texting your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.