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POLITICAL

  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    The study released today by the BCSF show that this past winter snowmobiling generated 299.2 million see more

    Keremeos, BC (July 2, 2019) – MNP LLP (“MNP”) was engaged by the BC Snowmobile Federation (“BCSF”) to conduct a study to quantify the contributions that snowmobiling makes to the BC economy.  Snowmobiling impacts BC’s economy through the expenditures of snowmobilers, and the operations of snowmobile dealers, snowmobile rental and guiding operators, and snowmobile clubs.   

     

    The study released today by the BCSF show that this past winter snowmobiling generated 299.2 million dollars and contributed 21.8 million dollars in revenue to the various levels of Government.  The study also demonstrated that during the winter months 4,272 jobs are supported by the sport of snowmobiling with the largest benefit being felt in the Thompson Okanagan Region.

     

    BC’s abundant snowfall and diverse, often mountainous terrain also make it an attractive tourist destination for snowmobilers from within BC, Washington State, Alberta, and abroad.   When snowmobilers take their snowmobiles on vacation the economic benefit to BC is 114.4 million in direct spending.  Of course, the majority of this economic benefit was felt in small rural areas, during the winter months, when economic stimulation is needed to keep our BC communities thriving.

     

    To read the Full Report

     

    Snowmobile Clubs in BC are considered to be the largest operator of trails in BC and are currently managing 187 recreation sites on behalf of the Province.  Snowmobile trails in BC are built and maintained by club volunteers and funded through a “user pay” fee structure. BC Snowmobile Clubs are non-profit societies that maintain over 18,000 km of trail and contribute over 16,000 hours of volunteer time annually to maintain our trails.  Snowmobile trails are open for everyone to enjoy and snowmobile clubs are working to create a lasting legacy for future generations. 

     

    The BC Snowmobile Federation is a non-profit society created in 1965 to establish, maintain and protect quality opportunities for organized snowmobiling in BC. The BCSF collectively represents 59 snowmobile clubs and 44,000 riders in the Province of BC.  On the ground, our member clubs are non-profit societies maintained by caring volunteers who promote safety, stewardship, and responsible backcountry snowmobile recreation.

     

  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    The BCSF reviewed the draft Partnership Agreement and submitted our comments to Government see more

    The B.C. government, the federal government, West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations have been negotiating an Inter-Governmental Partnership Agreement for the Conservation of the Central Group of the Southern Mountain Caribou (“Partnership Agreement”). The draft Partnership Agreement applies to the Central Group of Southern Mountain Caribou in the South Peace.

    The BCSF reviewed the draft agreement and submitted the attached comments to Government on behalf of BCSF Member Clubs.

    The top five key points of our response are:

    1. Term of Agreement should be five years-It is apparent in reading the Agreement that the proposed 30 year term does not match the actions laid out in the Agreement. The terms and schedules to the Agreement are short term or immediate in scope and much of the language is referencing items to be developed, possible projects to be considered, targets to be determined, temporary committees, interim measures and schedules that only apply to implementation of the Agreement of itself.  We think that the Parties need to embrace that this is new ground and instead use this agreement as the stepping stone to the creation of a long-term vision on caribou recovery with broad public support. 
    2. Managing motorized recreation– We are concerned the Agreements includes an action to implement the Central Group Caribou Motor-Vehicle Closure Engagement Plan. Our concern is based on that we have asked for a copy of this plan and have been told that the document has not been finalized nor can it be shared as of closing of this consultation period.  So we do not know what we agreeing to or commenting on.
    3. The Klinse-za Park expansion-  The current Klinse-za Park is listed as “Off-Road Vehicles (ORVs) being prohibited in the existing park. ORVs include ATVs, off-road motorcycles, snowmobiles and side-by-sides.” The wording to expand the park without including this key piece of information makes it unclear to us and the public of the Parties intention to make zone B3 a non-motorized area. The expansion of this park effectively removes snowmobiling from two high value snowmobile areas to the community of Chetwynd and will not include the snowmobile sector in reviewing this action or its boundaries. 
    4. Habitat Restoration Projects –They are planning to undertake restoration projects but the list of projects has not been provided.  Habitat Restoration and lineal line removal can seriously impact snowmobile access but does not seem to have any requirement for consultation. By removing access to an area you do effectively close the area without a requirement to consult impacted users. This results in forcing the public onto unsafe access trails or can result in illegal trail building.
    5. Public Consultation-The agreement states that all consultation must be completed within four months of the initialing of this Agreement. We have been told that the Agreement was initialed on March 1, 2019 which makes the end of public engagement to be June 30th. With the public consultation sessions that were held in the Northeast scheduled only ten days after the agreement was released, we question the ability for the public to be properly informed or effectively participate in a consultation process. Also, the four month timeline also does not allow for the Parties to implement any of the feedback from the public or bring back a second draft for review. 

    To read the full response letter that was submitted please open the attached file.  

  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    Blair Lekstrom's report "the Path Forward to Recover the Caribou Plan in Northern BC" was released see more

    Blair Lekstrom's report "the Path Forward to Recover the Caribou Plan in Northern BC" was released today.  The BCSF submitted our comments to Mr. Lekstrom to help inform his report and we also submitted our recommendations to all proposed signatories on the Agreement at the end of May.  You can read our full list of recommendations here.  

    The recommendations Mr. Lekstrom has made are:

    1. Government must not move the Partnership Agreement forward until full and proper engage- ment has occurred with Local Governments in the Peace Region, the District of Mackenzie, Industry, and Back Country user groups. Engagement must be done in a manner that is inclusive, transparent and be given the time to achieve public support. 
    2. Ensure proper consultation with and possible inclusion of both McLeod Lake Indian Band and Lheidli-T’enneh First Nation in the rebalanced Partnership Agreement. 
    3. A comprehensive Socio-Economic Impact Analysis must be completed in cooperation with the impacted areas of the Partnership Agreement prior to the agreement being finalized. 
    4. Recognizing that it will take time to rebalance the Partnership Agreement and ensure the document can be more fully accepted and supported by the region, impose a temporary moratorium on Zones A2 and B3 until a comprehensive engagement process is complete and all possible options are considered.
    5. The province needs to work with the Forest Industry to identify ways to mitigate any negative impact on volume from the deferral zones. Through discussion this may then ensure AAC is made available from adjacent units. 
    6. Moving forward remove zones B2 (Klinze-sa park expansion) and B5 (proposed West Moberly First Nations Woodland license) from the Partnership Agreement as both of these issues were agreed to prior to the development of the PA. If the province moves forward with a Woodlands license for West Moberly First Nations the requirement to harvest that timber must be actioned or the license should not proceed. 
    7. Ensure that moving forward that the rebalanced Partnership agreement include but not be limited to the following; 
      1. A clause that states it is not the intention of the agreement to impact negatively the industry which operates in the region and such a clause should reflect the view that supports the continued viability of industry (this clause can be discussed and developed by the parties engaged at the consultation table); 
      2. Ensure enhanced, fair and equitable representa- tion on both the Caribou Recovery Committee (section 8) and the Technical Working Group; 
      3. Develop the Central Group Caribou Motor- Vehicle Closure Plan in cooperation with user groups prior to the finalization of the Partnership Agreement and include it in the document (section 38); 
      4. Define the Indigenous Guardian Program and include it in the final Agreement (section 40 and 41); 
      5. Revisit the Dispute Resolution Process with a view to make it much clearer (sections 61 and 62); 
      6. Ensure the Mitigation and Offset program is developed and defined and included in the Agreement (section 35); 
      7. Ensure the development of the Managing Predation (section 39) is inclusive of those referred to in recommendations 1 and 2; and 
      8. Ensure each clause contained in the agreement is written in a clear and concise manner that can be easily understood. 
    8. Government continue to provide funding for the caribou maternal penning program which is seeing positive results in the growth of the number of caribou. 
    9. Government continue with funding provided for the caribou feeding program which is seeing positive results in the growth of the number of caribou. 
    10. Continue with the Wolf cull program in the Peace Region which is leading to a positive result in the number of caribou. 
    11. Pursue the possibility of implementing a captive breeding program for caribou. 
    12. Moving forward work with the Peace River Regional District and the District of Mackenzie to determine a possible overarching group that could be used as the lead table in discussions as they relate to these issues, as well as any future issues that may impact the region. This group should include all of those referenced in recommendation 1 as well as First Nations if they would agree to participate. This may be an option that government wishes to pursue in other regions as well, which could help alleviate ending up in a similar position to what we find ourselves in with regard to the Caribou agreements. 
    13. The Federal Government must accept responsibility for the costs associated with any mitigation measures which may be needed to offset any negative impacts the final agreements may have on communities, industry, back country user groups and individual workers who may be negatively impacted. This recommendation reflects the fact that it is the Federal Governments Species at Risk Act which has led to the development of both the Section 11 Bilateral Agreement and the Draft Partnership Agreement. 
    14. Although not within the jurisdiction of the prov- incial government, I would recommend that the Federal government incorporate the need for a full and comprehensive Socio-Economic Impact Analysis be part of all at risk species deliberations under the act and such a section be included in an amended Federal Species at Risk legislation. 

    A full copy of Mr. Lekstrom’s report is attached.

    From a press release made today made by Premier Horgan it is apparent that he plans to at least implement some of the recommendations:

    “Government is implementing an interim moratorium on new resource development in parts of northeastern British Columbia, while providing more time to protect jobs and support workers as it engages with affected communities and industries on long-term caribou protection strategies.”

  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    The BCSF submits comments to the Province of BC in response to South Peace Draft Management Plan see more

    The BC Snowmobile Federation (BCSF) and our member clubs participated in developing the South Peace Snowmobile Advisory Committee (SPSAC) Recommendation Report that was delivered to the Province in February 2021.  This report was a culmination of over 400 hours of time and $20,000 in BCSF member funds.   We stand behind the recommendations of this report and are submitting this report in its entirety as our response to the draft management plan that is currently circulating.  We request that the Province refer to the maps in our report that provided for the protection of 92% of occupied habitat in the South Peace and allow the members of the SPSAC to be true partners with you in Caribou Recovery.    

    The SPSAC was tasked with finding a balanced approach that supported caribou recovery and continued snowmobile access.  The SPSAC focussed our recommendations on occupied habitat and included a core principle for Adaptive Management whereby public access is adjusted seasonally or temporarily when caribou are not present. This allowed for the communities to continue to grow snowmobile tourism without impacting caribou recovery.  Snowmobiling does not alter habitat, there has been no evidence of a snowmobile trail leading to a predation event in the South Peace, and today the collar data collected by the Province provides no evidence of habitat abandonment due to snowmobilers.  

    In addition to submitting our report in its entirety we are also submitting the following direct comments on areas that the Province has not addressed:

    1. Legal Establishment of Snowmobile Polygons:  The legal establishment of all snowmobile areas that remain open must be included as an immediate next step. These applications need to be fast-tracked as it is our understanding that Recreation Sites and Trails BC (RSTBC) is no longer considering new applications.  A typical application has been taking five to seven years to process which is not acceptable.  The clubs in this region that have been trying to get their trails established have continued to be pushed off until the caribou planning process was started.  We believe that if you can implement a closure in less than six months then the protection and clear definition of what remains open should also be able to occur in that timeframe.   

    These areas must be established as recreational polygons and include the access trails, the grandfathering of existing cabins, and approval for new shelters or parking infrastructure required as part of the enhancement funds.   The Province should then enter into Partnership Agreements with the snowmobile clubs in each community to ensure the continued management of these areas long-term for public benefit.   Without this establishment of the entire polygon there is no legal recognition on the landscape of our usage and we will see our remaining areas further eroded through other land planning processes.

    1. Industrial pressure requires additional FRPA Objectives to be set: The snowmobile closures proposed align directly with the boundaries of the Industrial Moratorium, as such, it would appear that this will lead to increased pressure on the remaining land base below 1200M.  This will put public recreation areas directly overlapping industrial work sites and roads.  Therefore the legal establishment of the recreation polygons should include site-level objectives requiring forest licensees to communicate with recreation stakeholders and define mitigation strategies for the protection of public recreation resources including:
      1. The alpine and coniferous forest features along recreation sites or trails will be retained to preserve the outdoor recreation experience and prevent early season melt on snowmobile trails.
      2. Forest planning will include safety considerations for recreational access during the winter months and after harvesting is complete.  This will include harvest planning consideration above and below a recreation site or trail to ensure that new exposures and avalanche paths are not created. Or that any new avalanche paths are mitigated by terrain modifications such as deflection berms.
      3. This recreation site or trail is part of the working forest, and as such, activities that are likely to impact access or the recreation experience need to be communicated with the Designated Partner on the trail at least six months in advance.  
    2. Access must be protected:  All access routes into areas that remain open must be protected and in most cases improved to allow safe access to what remains.   This will require a commitment from many decision-makers and budget considerations across departments.  We need a commitment that the Province will manage all the decisions and provide an adequate budget to ensure areas that remain open can be safely accessed by snowmobilers long term.  This includes:
      • Forestry Roads for access or part of trail networks will need to be established by the Province as a provincial responsibility and an adequate budget allocated to ensure that they are safe for winter passage including replacing bridges, repairing unstable slopes, water damage, etc must all be mitigated, repaired or replaced.  It is not ok to come back a year later and remove a road to an open snowmobile area because the Province does not have the budget to replace a bridge.  
      • All restoration work will need to be done in close consultation with the snowmobile clubs in the area with clear details and commitment/assurance provided in writing that restoration work is not further limiting access or removing active trails in areas that have remained open.  That is not enough to ensure that future restoration work that is contracted out or done by industry as part of their deactivation of roads or lineal lines will not further limit our access.  It needs to be a firm commitment that someone within Government will ensure that the snowmobile access will remain open across departments and Ministries.  The snowmobile clubs cannot be responsible to track and try to manage multiple consultations across Ministries.  Government knows we are there, has committed to keeping these areas open for the continued economic benefit of the communities in the region, and therefore needs to commit to managing all processes that could further limit snowmobiling in the region.
    3. Enhancement Budget Needs to be Confirmed: Increased traffic to these areas will be immediate and therefore any approvals and subsequent infrastructure development must be completed prior to December 1st of this year.  Enhancement funding needs to be confirmed immediately and amounts for the next five years shared with the snowmobile clubs.  Once known, the clubs should meet with the Province to prioritize projects and begin implementation of key tasks focused on managing capacity, economic benefit, and safety immediately

    The British Columbia Snowmobile Federation does not support the current plan as circulated with sentiment echoed by the eight thousand signatures collected by the public. The Province’s draft plan has taken the precautionary principle and used a long planning lens with no consideration of the secondary objective, which was for snowmobiling to remain viable.  The SPSAC focussed on creating a comprehensive plan reactive to where caribou are and adapting public access regularly to maintain separation as herds grow and habitat usage changes.  The Province’s plan, however, is to apply a blanket closure of lands to the public whether caribou are present or not, and use punitive means to gain compliance. What the Province’s plan fails to acknowledge is that, according to the science, snowmobiling is considered a low threat to the herds and should only be managed where access is considered pervasive.  In the South Peace, on today’s landscape, the number of riders is low and spread across the region which prevents snowmobiling from being considered pervasive in any one area.  With this plan that will change. 

    It is our position that the members of the South Peace Snowmobile Advisory Committee diligently completed the work that was requested of us in the Terms of Reference and now ask the Province to follow through and review that work to ensure that quality snowmobile opportunities remain.  Closing 1 million hectares completely to recreational snowmobiling in the South has not provided any improvements to the herds but has directly impacted the economy of many communities and provided much financial burden to snowmobile clubs that are now trying to manage a growing sport with much less available terrain.   

    This plan will not be successful without the support of the BC Snowmobile Federation, the snowmobile clubs, the riders, and the communities they support.  So we again ask the Province to follow due-process: review the recommendations forwarded in the SPSAC report, and implement the plan presented outlining the protection of  92% of occupied habitat with a strong adaptive management principle establishing the clubs as partners.  This collaborative effort will allow us to stand with you in support of your work and assist the province in the implementation of a successful caribou recovery initiative in the South Peace. 

     

  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    BCSF and our Member Clubs continue to work to secure access to public land for all. see more

    The BC Snowmobile Federation received information on August 2020 about a new proposed project in the Elk Valley area called the Elk Valley Cumulative Effects Management Framework. (EVCEMF)   This project intends to restore industrial roads in the Elk Valley that will restrict public access to areas for the protection of habitat for Grizzly Bears, Big Horn Sheep, and Westslope Cutthroat Trout.  

    Road restoration is not the same as road deactivation and includes the pulling down of the banks to re-slope the road and new trees are then planted to completely restore the area.  This type of restoration has the potential to completely remove snowmobile access and it was clear that access to several snowmobile areas in the Elk Valley could be lost due to this project.  In fact, almost all of our snowmobile areas are listed as priority watersheds for their work going forward.  

     

     

    Therefore, the BCSF quickly created a project team with the Fernie Snowmobile Association and the Elkford Snowmobile Association to ensure that the snowmobile sector would have a voice on this project.  We requested an immediate stop work and asked for the opportunity to participate in the road selection process for this year.  This resulted in us being provided two weeks to review their proposed work and submit a written letter with our concerns.  At the same time we were also successful in setting up a virtual meeting with the Provincial Project Lead to ensure that our concerns were heard.  The BCSF and our member clubs attended the meeting and we were successful in having the Ptolemy trail and the Heartbreak trail removed from this year's work plan.  

    As a result of this work, we also have been successful in obtaining a snowmobile sector seat on the EVCEMF Working Group going forward so that we can better support their work while also representing the interests of the snowmobiling public.  We anticipate this work will be ongoing over the next five years and that the Fernie Snowmobile Association and the Elkford Snowmobile Association will continue to provide strong representation for snowmobilers on this project locally.  

    This is a prime example of why you should join a snowmobile club.  It is not just about groomed trails. The BCSF and our member clubs are dedicated to safety, the growth of the sport, protection of the environment, and securing access to public lands for all.   Trails that are groomed are legally established and rarely challenged.  It is snowmobile access trails that are not legally established that often are threatened and where the BCSF spends the bulk of our time and resources. 

    The BCSF will continue to support the clubs in the Elk Valley on this project while also working with the Cumulative Effects Management Framework Provincially.  We need to better understand the implications to snowmobile access across BC, projects they have planned and ensure we have a voice. We have expanded our Provincial Team on this file to include our partners at ATV BC and BC Off Road Motorcycles Association (BCORMA) to provide a unified voice for all motorized recreation.  Please support your local club! 

     

     September 17, 2020
  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    Snowmobile access near Trout Lake and the BC Snowmobile Federation’s concern see more

    The community of Trout Lake has created a Change.org petition to try to stop the removal of the Rady Creek FSR.  We need the snowmobilers of the Trout Lake region to go sign this petition.

    The BCSF also sent the following via email on May 26, 2021.  We received a response that government staff would follow up with us and they have not.  Therefore, on June 7, 2021 we have sent a follow up email escalating this to Katrine Conroy as the Minister responsible.  

    Good afternoon MLA Katrine Conroy,

    We are writing to you today regarding snowmobile access near Trout Lake and the BC Snowmobile Federation’s concern that the Provincial Government’s employees do not appear to be negotiating in good faith with the public in this instance.  

    The BC Snowmobile Federation and our member clubs, Trout Lake Recreational Club and the Arrow Lakes Ridge Riders (Naksup), have signed a Stewardship Management Agreement (SMA) with the Province for caribou recovery in the Selkirk region.  This agreement was signed on March 24, 2021 by the Province of BC and each of our clubs.  This was a culmination of over two year's work with several stakeholder and public community consultation meetings.   This is an important project for caribou recovery as well as the snowmobile community, as it uses real time location of caribou to manage snowmobile access to minimize potential disturbance.  The BCSF and our clubs have been strong supporters and partners on this project and here is a copy of our press release as well as that of the Province when this project launched.  We strongly believe in this project and continue to host the website www.snowmobileselkirks.ca, attend planning meetings, work to improve communications and invest in our technology to support this project long term. 

    Part of the SMA negotiated with Trout Lake Recreational Club includes an area that is important to the community of Trout Lake.  Our riders refer to it as Foggy Day but in the SMA it is referred to as the zones within the Silver Cup Ridge.  This area was specifically negotiated to remain open in the SMA under “Model Exemption Rules” because of its value to the community of Trout Lake.  This was done in exchange for the neighboring Area “American Creek” being always closed.        The Government staff that worked with us in the development of this unique SMA assured the community of Trout Lake, at an open public meeting, that Silver Cup Ridge would remain open and he backed that assertion up by creating a specific exemption rule for this area in the SMA he drafted. 

    Yet here we are.  The SMA was signed on March 24 of this year and a month later we found out the Province is planning to deactivate Rady Creek Forest Service Road (FSR).  Our member club was not formally notified or consulted on this but learned about it from another concerned user.  The Rady Creek FSR represents our sole access into the zones referred to as Silver Cup Ridge.  We immediately reached out to our Government contact with whom we negotiated the SMA to ensure he was aware and to find ways for snowmobile access to continue.  We were surprised that the response we got back from him was that he not only knew about it, but also supported the removal of this road to support caribou recovery.  His response back was that the area remains open but that we did not negotiate access to the area as part of our SMA planning meetings.

    To the BC Snowmobile Federation this is shocking as I know it will be to the community of Trout Lake once this is made public.   It is our hope, as MLA for the community of Trout Lake, that you will assist us in finding solutions whereby snowmobile access remains for Silver Cup Ridge as promised and that we can find a way to work together to address engineering concerns.  We believe the road can be deactivated to an extent that meets their concerns without completely removing snowmobile access. 

    I am available to meet via zoom or telephone if you would like to discuss this further.

    Donegal Wilson

    BCSF Executive Director

  • Nicole Matei posted an article
    Protection for Outdoor Recreation Opportunities and Established Snowmobile Trails in BC see more

    For Immediate Release

     

    Contact: Donegal Wilson, Executive Director

    BC Snowmobile Federation

    Ph: 250-499-5117 

    Email: dwilson@bcsf.org 

     

    Protection for Outdoor Recreation Opportunities and Established Snowmobile Trails in BC

    BCSF receives support from the District of Sicamous to submit resolutions to the Union of BC Municipalities

     

    Keremeos, BC (July 19, 2021) -- The BC Snowmobile Federation (BCSF) presented two resolutions to the District of Sicamous (DOS) Council on June 23, 2021 seeking support for inclusion at the 2021 Union of BC Municipalities Convention.   British Columbia has proudly earned its spot as one of the leading outdoor destinations in the world, celebrating a diverse landscape that defines both our people and culture. Access to recreation amenities has proven an important value and determinant for choice of employment or residence in BC.  Snowmobiling is one such recreational asset and organized snowmobiling in BC provides $299 million dollars to the winter rural economy.

     

    The first resolution presented relates to changes required in the Forest Range Practices Act (FRPA).  FRPA has eleven established Values listed within, but recreation remains the only Value that has no associated objective.  This results in recreation being omitted from land planning and there is no requirement for industry to communicate, consult, or coordinate their activities with recreation groups.  The BCSF Resolution is to establish an objective in FRPA that ensures all recreation groups are included in land planning processes going forward.

     

    The second resolution is specific to snowmobile club operations in BC.  For many communities, especially small rural towns, recreation and outdoor tourism is growing as a leading economic driver. The 70 non-profit snowmobile clubs in BC are creating this economic benefit largely on crown land under partnership agreements with Recreation Sites and Trails BC.  Our clubs manage these trails on the government's behalf, to ensure the provision of safe, environmentally responsible, and vibrant snowmobile opportunities for the public to get out and enjoy the outdoors.  The second BCSF Resolution establishes site specific snowmobile objectives relating to safety, quality of experience, and timing considerations.  

     

    “The District of Sicamous supports these resolutions to help address issues impacting rural communities across BC and the disparity within the provincial legislation of the Forest Range Practices Act (FRPA).  We are asking municipalities across B.C. to support these resolutions at the 2021 UBCM Convention.” -Mayor Terry Rysz, District of Sicamous

     

    “Snowmobile Clubs across the province have worked hard to create great working relationships with Industry.  With good planning and communication, we have found many companies willing to adjust harvest schedules or operational plans to accommodate our short snowmobile season. With these Resolutions the BCSF is working to establish these great working relationships as the standard for all operations in BC.  The snowmobile sector has four months to generate 299 million dollars and we all need to work together to ensure that our communities receive all the economic benefits available to them from recreation and industry.” Peter Doyle, President BC Snowmobile Federation

    The BC Snowmobile Federation is a non-profit society created in 1965 to establish, maintain and protect quality opportunities for organized snowmobiling in BC. The BCSF collectively represents 60 snowmobile clubs and 44,000 riders in the Province of BC.  On the ground, our member clubs are non-profit societies maintained by caring volunteers who promote safety, stewardship, and responsible backcountry snowmobile recreation. 

     

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    If you would like more information about this release please contact:

     

    Donegal Wilson, Executive Director

    BC Snowmobile Federation

    (250) 499-5117

    Email dwilson@bcsf.org

  • Nicole Matei posted an article
    Local Governments Vote to Protect Recreation In BC see more

    Local Governments Vote to Protect Recreation In BC

    UBCM Endorses Resolution Requiring Industry to Include Trail Groups in Planning Process

     

    Keremeos, BC (September 28th, 2021) -- A resolution that calls on the province to enact better protection for outdoor recreation opportunities was endorsed last week at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Convention. This endorsement is a big win not only for the BC Snowmobile Federation clubs who initiated the resolution, but for all groups in the province who work diligently to provide recreation trails and other infrastructure to the public.

    British Columbia has proudly earned its spot as one of the leading outdoor destinations in the world, celebrating a diverse landscape that defines both our people and culture. Access to recreation amenities has proven an important value and determinant for choice of employment or residence in BC.  Snowmobiling is one such recreational asset and organized snowmobiling in BC provides $299 million dollars to the winter rural economy. Resolution EB42 ( which can be read here, page 51) calls for changes to be made to the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) that would legally require industry to communicate, consult, and coordinate their activities with recreation groups during the land use planning process.

    “Snowmobile Clubs across the province have worked hard to create great working relationships with Industry.  With good planning and communication, we have found many companies willing to adjust harvest schedules or operational plans to accommodate our short snowmobile season. With these Resolutions the BCSF is working to establish these great working relationships as the standard for all operations in BC.  The snowmobile sector has four months to generate $299 million dollars and we all need to work together to ensure that our communities receive all the economic benefits available to them from recreation and industry.” Peter Doyle, President BC Snowmobile Federation

    The BC Snowmobile Federation appreciates the efforts of our stakeholder working group, the town of Sicamous who supported this resolution bringing it to Convention, and to the public who wrote their local council in support. 

    The BC Snowmobile Federation is a non-profit society created in 1965 to establish, maintain and protect quality opportunities for organized snowmobiling in BC. The BCSF collectively represents 60 snowmobile clubs and 44,000 riders in the Province of BC.  On the ground, our member clubs are non-profit societies maintained by caring volunteers who promote safety, stewardship, and responsible backcountry snowmobile recreation. 

     

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    If you would like more information about this release, please contact:

     

    Donegal Wilson, Executive Director

    BC Snowmobile Federation

    (250) 499-5117

    Email dwilson@bcsf.org

     September 28, 2021
  • Article
    Why it’s important to support the British Columbia Snowmobile Federation and its member clubs. see more

    Sno-Riders - The Scoop - By BCSF Director, Trish Drinkle

    Read all about the importance of supporting the BC Snowmobile Federation and it's member clubs.

    Click here to read more!

     

    (Above) Excellent meeting with MLA Tom Shypitka. It is refreshing and inspiring to discuss science based conservation in relationship to caribou.

    - Photo courtesy of Trish Drinkle, pictured in photo along with Tim Hoechsmann, Wesly Graham, MLA Tom Shypitka, Joshua Salzmann and Donegal Wilson.

     

    (Above) BCSF Executive Director, Donegal Wilson and President Richard Cronier meet with MP Todd Doherty (Cariboo - Prince George)

    - Photo courtesy of Richard Cronier 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    A group of Canadian outdoor industry leaders announced today the formation of the Canadian Outdoor R see more

    TORONTO, ON – [October 3, 2019], A group of Canadian outdoor industry leaders announced today the formation of the Canadian Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (CORR) to provide a strong voice for outdoor use across Canada. CORR will unite a wide range of Canada’s leading industry stakeholders behind policies and legislative reforms needed to grow the outdoor economy, promote and expand outdoor opportunities, reasonably and responsibly conserve public lands and waterways, and enhance infrastructure to improve the experience of outdoor users from coast to coast.

    “Protecting, promoting and enhancing recreational experiences on Canada’s public lands and waterways are the core values for those of us who work in the outdoor recreation industry,” said Sara Anghel, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association Canada.

    “Outdoor recreation continues to rise in popularity and diversity, and it is important that we continue to support this industry and ensure Canadians can get outdoors and enjoy their favourite pastimes,” noted Dennis Burns, executive director of the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations.

    “Building on the solidarity of the outdoor recreation industry, CORR will foster cooperation and help bring partners together in order to grow outdoor opportunities.  It will strengthen the coordination of industry partners and formalizes the desire to work together to make outdoor recreation activities an important issue during the next federal election campaign,” said Bob Ramsay, President of COHV & MMIC.

    CORR members represent thousands of businesses that produce vehicles, equipment, gear, apparel and services for the millions of Canadians who enjoy our national parks, waterways, byways, trails and outdoor spaces.  The collective outdoor recreation industry is conservatively estimated to produce $24.6 billion in economic activity for Canada each year, generating an estimated 472,713 direct jobs, $7.1 billion in taxes and $52.1 billion in total revenues.

    “The outdoor recreation industry in Canada is a major economic driver providing billions of dollars per year for the Canadian economy, along with hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in total revenues,” said Eleonore Hamm. President of the RV Dealers Association of Canada.

    Outdoor recreation provides high-quality Canadian jobs in industries ranging from manufacturing to retail to tourism. These jobs can be found from coast to coast and play a critical role in the economic health of local and provincial/territorial economies.

    The Canadian Outdoor Recreation Roundtable strives to achieve the following:

    • Ensure the primary drivers of the outdoor recreation economy across Canada are recognized;
    • Foster federal collaboration that will enable the outdoor recreation economy to reach its full potential;
    • Remove barriers that prevent private investment in public lands and waters to improve conservation and access for outdoor enthusiasts;
    • Work with all levels of government to ensure that recreational access and high-quality visitor experiences are prioritized; and
    • Promote sound conservation practices, since Canada’s outdoor recreation economy is dependent on responsible and sustained use of our public lands and waters

    Trade associations include (please note this is not the entire recreation industry and membership will continue to expand):

    • Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations (CCSO)
    • Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council (COHV)
    • Canadian Camping and RV Council (CCRVC)
    • Canadian Recreational Vehicle Association (CRVA)
    • Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA)
    • Canadian Ski Council
    • Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association (CSIA) & Canadian National Sportfishing Foundation (CNSF)
    • Fur Institute of Canada
    • International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA)
    • Motorcycle & Moped Industry Council (MMIC)
    • National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) Canada
    • Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) 
    • Safari Club International Safari Club International – First For Hunters

    For more information on members please CLICK HERE

    For more information please contact Sara Anghel, President, National Marine Manufacturers Association Canada at 905-951-4048 or sanghel@nmma.org

  • Article
    $100,000 will be given to BC outdoor clubs to improve trail riding conditions & promote rider safety see more

    Information Bulletin - 

     

    Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development

    Click here to read: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018

     

  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    Study data suggests that the activity level of snowmobiling has traditionally been underestimated. see more

     

    Thunder Bay, Ontario, December 11, 2017: The Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations (CCSO) is pleased to receive initial findings that recreational snowmobiling can assist in the accumulation of the total recommended physical activity time needed to maintain a balanced lifestyle. Study data suggests that the activity level of snowmobiling has traditionally been underestimated. This according to preliminary results from a yet-to-be published University of Guelph study entitled “The Physiological Assessment and Analysis of the Physical Demand of Riding a Snowmobile”.

     

    “This news will come as no surprise to snowmobilers across Canada who ride all winter,” commented CCSO President Dale Hickox. “Snowmobiling gets you outdoors, breathing fresh air and being active with friends & family – and that simply makes you healthier and better able to cope with life’s challenges.”

     

    But the fact is that many North Americans fail to get at least 150 minutes weekly of moderate to vigorous activity as recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. This deficiency is compounded in the winter as North Americans burn 15-20% fewer calories in weekly recreational activities. It should be noted that physical inactivity accounts for 15% of the 1.6 million chronic health conditions diagnosed each year. Typically, chronic health conditions consume 67% of all direct health care costs and cost the Canadian economy $190 billion annually in treatment expenses and lost productivity.

     

    This snowmobiling health study indicates that participating in snowmobiling is one good way to achieve the better physical conditioning that keeps people healthier and helps prevent chronic health conditions. Conducted in 2016/17, the study evaluated the physical demand of snowmobiling, considering both cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal demands. It also examined if activity location would play a role in the physical demands. 

     

    Considering early results researchers compared the snowmobiling health study results to the American College of Sports Medicine’s Compendium of Physical Activities. This tool defines activities by their aerobic demands as a metabolic equivalent (MET). A MET is a unit that represents the amount of energy required to maintain human function while sitting or lying awake at rest. Therefore, an activity of 3 METs would be 3 times more demanding than rest.

     

    Moderate intensity activities range between 3-6 METs. Snowmobiling falls into this category, as the average METs for groomed trail riding scored almost 4 METs, while mountain riding came in closer to 7 METs. All in all, this puts snowmobiling in the same physical activity range as other winter activities like chopping wood, snow shovelling, and recreational ice-skating and snowshoeing.

     

    A balanced lifestyle also includes good mental health. According to a major depressive disorder study by researchers at Duke University, physical activity is also effective in beating those winter blues. Together, these findings suggest snowmobiling is good for both body and mind.

     

    The CCSO and its snowmobiling health study funding partners: the International Association of Snowmobile Administrators (IASA),  Arctic Cat Industries, Ski-Doo (BRP),  Off Road Business Association (ORBA),  Royal Distributing Inc., Colorado Snowmobile Association (CSA), Snowmobile North Dakota (SND), Glacier House in Revelstoke BC, Haliburton Forest Wildlife Reserve in Haliburton ON; are committed to winter family recreation and the healthy, active lifestyle benefits associated with recreational snowmobiling.

     

    Contact:

    Dennis Burns

    Executive Director

    Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations (CCSO)

    (807) 345-5299

    Email: ccso.ccom@tbaytel.net

     

     

     

  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    Please take 30 minutes and complete this questionnaire see more

    The Province of BC and Federal Government are working on initiatives to conserve, protect, and recover caribou herds throughout the province. The Peace River Regional District (PPRD) Board is seeking to understand how caribou conservation efforts could affect economic development and tourism/recreation opportunities in the region and has retained Stantec Consulting Ltd. (Stantec) to undertake an economic impact assessment.

    As part of its economic impact assessment, Stantec is conducting phone interviews and/or email questionnaires with interested groups and agencies potentially affected by the proposed conservation efforts to properly understand existing local conditions related to outdoor recreation and tourism. Specifically, Stantec would like to collect information on popular areas for outdoor recreation activities (e.g. snowmobiling, back country skiing, water-based recreation activities), usage patterns, and the importance of recreational tourism to the local economy. 

    If you are interested in completing the email questionnaire, please find it attached along with a map (to assist with response to one of the questions). To indicate usage areas on the map, please use digital sticky notes in Adobe PDF or feel free to print out,  and mark up a hard copy, attaching an image or scan of the marked up map. Please return the completed questionnaire and map by way of email on or before November 26, 2018. The questionnaire should take approximately 30 minutes or less. 

  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    The BC Snowmobile Federation reviewed the draft Section 11 Agreement and submitted our comments see more

    B.C. and Canada have been developing a bilateral conservation agreement under Section 11 of the Species at Risk Act (referred to as the “Section 11 Agreement”). The  draft Section 11 Agreement contains overarching commitments, measures and strategies for the recovery of Southern Mountain Caribou in B.C.

    The BC Snowmobile Federation (BCSF) reviewed the draft agreement and submitted the attached comments to Government on behalf of BCSF Member Clubs.

    The top five key points from our response were:

    1. Herd Plans– We believe that we need to change our thinking on Caribou Recovery and focus on herds with the highest chance of recovery.  While the BCSF supports the development of individual herd plans and plans to participate in the process, we continue to challenge why the focus of recovery efforts is on herds that are facing extirpation in the near future.  The herd plans and recovery actions should be started for the largest herds first
    2. Baseline Herd Counts-We believe that the baseline data of counts for each herd must be included in the Agreement.  It will therefore hold all parties accountable to the starting point, make goal setting clear, reporting of progress consistent, transparent and measurable for all. 
    3. Incrementally increase Southern Mountain Caribou Habitat over the course of the Agreement.   We are concerned with the continued focus on habitat protection and there is no definition of what the end goal is or what percentage of increase is expected. We believe that habitat protection should be based on science and the individual needs of each herd and the habitat needs assessed through the proposed herd planning.  By making a blanket commitment to incrementally increase habitat it appears to be less about caribou recovery and more about Canada’s Target 1.  
    4. Self Sustaining–We believe that the Principles of this Agreement need to be amended to remove the objective of achieving self-sustaining populations. The definition of a self-sustaining population is one that is able to continue by itself without anyone or anything else becoming involved. We believe that the goal should be a net increase in population or targets that are achievable not a statement such as “self-sustaining” which is not realistic or obtainable. 
    5. Engagement with Indigenous People- This section only refers to engagement and consultation as it pertains to directly affected indigenous people.  It does not include the rest of the British Columbians that live, work and recreate within the Agreement area.  We believe that everyone must be included because it will take more than one segment of the population to facilitate positive change for the species overall and everyone needs take ownership of the recovery measures being proposed.

    To read the full response letter that was submitted please open the attached file.