A Forest Practices Board report released last week confirms that the Province’s memorandum of understanding with heli-ski and cat-ski operators is helping protect endangered mountain caribou.
In April 2014, the Province commissioned the Forest Practices Board to audit the ministry’s agreement with all 12 heli-ski and cat-ski operators that work in and around mountain caribou habitat. The memorandum of understanding has been in place since 2011 and is designed to minimize impacts on mountain caribou by the heli-ski industry. The memorandum establishes best practices for avoiding mountain caribou, as well as documenting encounters when they do occur.
The audit indicates that overall heli-ski and cat-ski operators have demonstrated a high degree of diligence in adhering to the conditions of the memorandum of understanding. It also provides valuable advice on how operators can improve their reporting protocols, and these findings will help inform future efforts to sustain mountain caribou populations.
The memorandum of understanding has been renewed until 2017, and is one of a number of actions supporting the recovery of mountain caribou populations. Since 2007, the Province has prohibited industrial road building and logging, recreational snowmobiling and the sale of commercial recreation tenures on millions of hectares to protect and preserve caribou habitat.
This is an ongoing effort and requires long-term careful management of public and commercial recreation, habitat protection, and predator and prey management.
To download a copy of the Forest Practices Board report, visit: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/speciesconservation/mc/files/HeliCat_Ski_Compliance_Monitoring_Report_2014.pdf