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Everyone should be involved in land use discussions

Tom hopes a compromise can be found for all alpine users and wildlife
On the Ropes - Tom Roper

A couple weeks back I wrote a column on the goat life in the Bulkley Valley.

Seems as with all things there are two sides to every story.

I got a call from Paul and his motorized buddies, Joe and Mark. These guys feel they are being blamed for some of the wildlife issues in our area.

They belong to the Snowmobile Club but consider themselves more like concerned free riders and want to be included in land use discussions.

Paul showed me a map of the Netalzul Mountain area up the Suskwa valley. He said that area was closed to sledders without adequate democratic consultation and compromise. He said that the mountain has plenty of areas where sledders are not in contact with goat habitat.

Goats need wind-blown alpine and sledders need deep powder.

If any machinery is bothering wildlife it would be helicopters with biologists tranquilizing and collaring. That procedure would stress any animal.

Mark was telling me he was born in the valley and has been in the mountains since he was six years old. He has great respect for the animals but feels that the motorized sector has given up far too many areas for protection of animal habitat.

We all need places to recreate and this valley is big enough for everyone. Mark says he has seen goats crossing Babine lake road and feels the goats on McKendrick are not an isolated herd but are part of the greater Babine herd.

Joe is another guy whose family have been in the valley a long time.

He has a strong love for the backcountry and is concerned for his children and their access to the mountains.

Joe says we still have goat draws for hunters in the Babines. The goat population has to be healthy for that to happen. These guys want to be a part of the land-use decisions. They do not hold any grudges against those that do not like motorized equipment in the bush.

”We are good stewards of the land and willing to share,” he said and feels the government is using wildlife issues to get sledders and ATV riders out of the backcountry.

I have a sled myself and an ATV and I also like to hike and ski. Land use management is a big issue in our area and we need equitable solutions that are fair for all parties including wildlife and their habitat.

Another group that needs to be considered are the older crowd and the disabled. This group will need motorized assistance to get to the alpine. They have paid their taxes and need to be part of the conversation.

So what we need to do is respect a person’s personal choice and seek compromises in our decisions. Maybe we need specific days for motorized and alternative ones for non-motorized.

We seem to have been able to achieve a compromise in the Harold Price region. Reference a cabin for skiers and another for sledders.

We all live in this amazing area and we all need to get along and respect each other.

What is your opinivon?

Send me an email or call me at 250-877-1806.

Thanks, Tom