Snowmobiling is a popular winter pastime in the valley. As soon as the snow flies, it seems as though every second truck has a sled mounted on or inside its bed with its driver dreaming of extreme backcountry adventures, whether it’s quick access to far-away bowls for ski and snowboard touring, or gunning it down long logging roads to find the perfect place to jump and highmark to their heart’s content.
That being said, given how ideal the valley is for this motorized activity, there is very little in place in the way of regulation. A real disadvantage for several reasons. The environmental degradation of some pristine valleys/areas being one, but also the poor organization means a gaping hole in terms of tourism marketing and management.
Last year a plan was finally put in place for Catamount Glacier, Forster Creek Meadows and North Star Glacier.
A revised order under Section 58 of the Forest and Range Practices Act opened the Forster Creek Meadows to snowmobiles from December 1st to May 31st annually, opened the Catamount Glacier to snowmobile use from February 16th to May 31st, and closed the North Star Glacier to snowmobiles year-round, while allowing backcountry and heli-skiing. More recently at the last Radium council meeting, snowmobile activity at Catamount was raised again when a proposal to regulate this activity was approved.
The Columbia Valley Recreation Access Coalition all but folded last year after a very unsuccessful attempt to find a common ground for the valley’s motorized and non-motorized backcountry users. With Radium council agreeing to help fund an initaitive that will attempt to do exactly this in an area close to their village may mean that a more piecemeal approach might be the way to go.
Any strategy of this nature should definitely look at succesful snowmobiling areas such as Revelstoke and Whistler, and not waste any time reinventing the wheel.