Directors question heliskiing plan

Concerns about a proposed heliskiing operation are taking flight.

Concerns about a heliskiing operation are taking flight.

The Regional District of North Okanagan has been contacted by the provincial government about Eagle Pass Heliskiing’s proposed changes to Crown land tenure.

“We want additional time to respond to the application,” said Rick Fairbairn, rural Lumby director.

Eagle Pass Heliskiing’s current operating tenure is 102 kilometres long on the western side of the Monashee Mountains. The main base is 20 kilometres south of Revelstoke at Mulvehill Creek.

It is seeking changes to its tenure agreement with the provincial government so additional areas can be included.

“This is required due to the relocation of the base lodge and expansion of the operation,” states the submission from Eagle Pass Heliskiing.

“Another part of the expansion is a result of new partnerships with nearby resorts, Silver Star Mountain Resort and Sparkling Hill Resort.”

The areas include the Vidler Polygon east of Cherryville and Sugar Lake, the Mabel Shoulder Polygon east of Kingfisher and the Silver Star Polygon northeast of Silver Star Mountian.

Fairbairn is concerned public access to these areas could become limited.

“Tourism is a big part of our economic activity and by closing forest service roads, this could curtail opportunities for tourists,” he said.

“There is the hang gliding launch area. There is also hunting, fishing and the people who enjoy hiking.”

Fairbairn says he understands the government’s concerns about the cost of maintaining roads.

“It may be that you use some of the roads at your own risk to mitigate those concerns,” he said.