From what I hear, yes you HAVE to have the gear to go in there. They either check or if you're caught without you're fucked...
I sort of think it seems like a marketing ploy, as Fernie and Louise have some pretty crazy in bounds terrain that you don't need gear for. Maybe it's just to keep tourists out?
I thought it was some dumb rule because they didn't originally have Goats eye and the divide as part of their lease. So when they opened up the divide they were required as part of the lease. They apparently are also responsible for WaWa Ridge and Twin Cairns area, as they attempt to get them in their control too.