Towns are becoming concerned about how government plans to help mountain caribou herds recover will affect local economies. (File photo)

Regional district backs more consultation on plans to help caribou

It is feared that the caribou recovery plans could result in closure of backcountry areas

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District has joined a chorus of other Southern Interior governments calling for more thorough consultation on mountain caribou recovery programs that it is feared could result in backcountry closures.

The issue of the draft caribou management plans reached the CSRD board at their April 18 meeting. After discussion led by Mayors Terry Rysz and Gary Sulz of Sicamous and Revelstoke, the board voted to write to the government ministers responsible for developing the caribou recovery plans and deciding on any future closures. They’re asking all stakeholders be consulted on closures and that the timeline for consultation be extended one year, at the very least.

Director Paul Demenok moved the board also invite a government representative to the CSRD to offer a more thorough explanation of the process that could result in backcountry closures; the board also approved this motion.

The draft caribou recovery plan for the Frisby-Boulder-Queest herd recommends closing snowmobiling in all delineated core areas while maintaining current standard operating procedures for heli and cat-ski operators.

Read More: Sicamous wants more consultation on backcountry closures

Read More: Snowmobile clubs check compliance in caribou closures

Director David Brooks-Hill said lobbying for a long delay on the provincial management plans may not be the best idea. He said the federal government could unilaterally introduce a plan that might include wider closures under section 11 of the Species at Risk Act if no provincial plan is in place.

Rysz and Sulz have both hosted meetings on the subject of caribou recovery plans in their communities with attendance in the hundreds.

Both mayors noted their meetings show that the public in the Southern Interior towns where recreation and industry would be most affected by closures are becoming aware of the issue and are very concerned about backcountry access.

“Everyone wants to build the herd and make sure they’re protected. I’m for it, I don’t want to lose any of our animals,” Rysz said.

He added that discussions with other communities show similar concerns over the lack of consultation throughout the area caribou management plans will affect.

Read More: Caribou maternity pen project nears its end by Revelstoke

Read More: Last caribou from lower 48 U.S. states released back into the wild

Sulz said factors beyond recreation and industrial use play into the caribou herd management. Although there is a wolf cull on in the areas where caribou live he said it is insufficient.

Sulz said he thinks cooperation is possible with various levels of government and the public to find a solution which doesn’t require backcountry closures.

The provincial government has extended the timeline for public consultation on the caribou recovery plans to the end of May. Further information and an online feedback form are available at https://engage.gov.bc.ca/caribou/section11agreement/.

-With files from the Revelstoke Review


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Kelowna Rockets?

This quiz challenges the knowledge of those who claim to be the biggest Rockets fans

12-year-old Kelowna resident celebrates birthday with help of community

The community greeted Kate Pauling with ballons, banners and gifts along her paper route on Friday

COVID-19: More infected passengers on planes flying to and from Okanagan and Kamloops airports

The BC Centre of Disease Control has identified numerous flights with COVID-19 cases

Okanagan soup canned nearly 90 years ago gets taste test

YouTube shows man taking contents from old Bulmans Cannery vegetable mix and making, eating soup

UPDATE: Coronavirus concerns prompt event cancellations across the Okanagan

This is a running list of events cancelled across the Okanagan

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

Okanagan nordic centre loses out on 2021 nationals

Sovereign Lake near Vernon was to host 2020 Canadian championships, canceled due to COVID-19

Most Read