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

Kelowna Rockets blow 4-goal lead in overtime loss to Calgary

Captain Nolan Foote made a brief return as Kelowna drops Family Day matinee 6-5

Soccer legend Bob Lenarduzzi to speak about dementia in Kelowna

Lenarduzzi will speak at the inaugural Breakfast to Remember on Mar. 10

Kelowna RCMP arrest alleged impaired driver

The driver is facing potential charges after power pole collision

West Kelowna Warriors host Trail Smoke Eaters

The Warriors are coming from a Saturday loss against the Vernon Vipers

UBCO announces new top boss for Okanagan campus

Lesley Cormack will start in the position this summer

Kelowna’s Family YMCA opens doors on Family Day

The entire day was free for the community

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

South Okanagan woman reflects on prestigious win at Westminster dog show

“Polly” the Scottish deerhound was crowned best in breed and reserve best hound.

RCMP report woman arrested after ramming police cruiser

Suspect wanted for crimes allegedly committed in Kelowna, Salmon Arm and 100 Mile House

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Most Read