Another tourism tenure proposed

Another tourism tenure proposed

Hunting organization, Wildsight raising concerns about wildlife, habitat.

A second adventure tourism tenure in the southern Purcell mountain range is being proposed on the heels of a large project announced two weeks ago.

Northwest Mountain Experience Ltd is proposing two ski touring cabins accessible by helicopter on Armour Mountain for backcountry skiing and summer hiking tours.

Daniel Morton, a resident of Slocan who has over 16 years of experience in providing backcountry touring experiences at various ski touring lodges, is making the application, along with his wife, Mary, a professional chef.

The application covers 10,000 hectares, with the main lodge planned in a remote area 24 kilometres northeast of Crawford Bay.

“With the incredible growth in the backcountry ski touring industry, most of the backcountry lodges are now booked 2-3 years in advance and they cannot fill the demand from the public.,” reads the application. “Also with the recent downturn in the local resource-based economy, our area now relies heavily on tourism for jobs.”

The applicants say they have no conflict with First Nations interests with yaqan nu?kiy, the Lower Kootenay Band.

All buildings will be fabricated as much as they can be off-site and flown in by helicopter.

The Northwest Mountain Experience Ltd application is the second adventure tourism tenure recently proposed; two weeks ago, a 70,000-hectare application was announced by Retallack and the Lower Kootenay Band for winter and summer guided adventure tourism activities.

Opposition to both applications

An organization representing hunters and anglers is raising concerns on a pair of recreation tenures in the southern Purcell Mountain range.

The BC chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers raised concerns with both proposals in a press release issued Monday.

“The British Columbia Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BCBHA) has concerns with both of these commercial recreation applications because they will result in the continued erosion of our shrinking backcountry areas in the Southern Purcell Mountains,” reads the statement. “The potential for disruption of high value wildlife movement and habitat connectivity as well as the fragmentation of existing low use wilderness is significant.”

The BCHA is encouraging members and the public to review the tenure applications and submit feedback to the provincial government.

Wildsight, an organization dedicated to wildlife and habitat conservation, has already expressed concerns with the Retallack proposal in a statement to the Kimberley Bulletin.

“We’re concerned because this area is prime wildlife habitat,” said Eddie Petryshen, Wildsight’s Conservation Coordinator. “Besides being crucial for wildlife connectivity in every direction, it has important huckleberry patches for grizzly bears and sustains mountain goats, wolverines, moose, trout and more. And the surrounding area supports the struggling South Purcells mountain caribou herd.”

The government is accepting feedback on the Retallack proposal until May 6, while the feedback deadline for the Northwest Mountain Experience Ltd proposal is June 13.

A public meeting, hosted by Wildsight, was held in Kimberley on Monday evening.

Link – Retallack proposal

Link – Northwest Mountain Experience Ltd proposal

With a file from the Kimberley Bulletin