Thursday, August 4, 2016

Chilcotin Holidays

Chilcotin Holidays Stewardship Plan

Stewardship at Chilcotin Holidays:
Stewardship Plan

For wilderness operators, nature is their way of life. They depend upon the wilderness as their vital necessity, much like nomadic hunter-gatherers did for thousands of years, and are highly invested in its well-being.In British Columbia, wilderness operators began guiding the first international tourists around 1850, before Canada was even a country. Since then, wilderness operators have expanded into additional roles that continue to draw upon their wilderness expertise and unique connection to the land- a connection that can only be formed through a life lived in and dependent on the wilderness.

Recently, wilderness operators have been called upon to fill another role in the wilderness tourism industry. As the government began to discontinue Land and Resource Management Plans in the mid ‘90s, the responsibility of promoting best practices in land management, and mitigating the harmful effects of unsustainable and uncoordinated land and resource use, fell upon the shoulders of those who live and work in the wilderness. It’s a responsibility that they have taken seriously. Mike Morris, who is the MLA of Prince George-MacKenzie and parliamentary secretary to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, concluded that those with the most extensive, intimate knowledge of the land would be the most qualified parties to identify essential land management actions, from which they ought to outline their own versions of past government LRMPs. Among those with the most intimate understanding of specific territories throughout the province are wilderness operators, tenure holders, and First Nations.

In line with the advice of Mike Morris, wilderness operators have recognized the need to take some of the burden of land management off the government. As such, wilderness operators have invested even more of their resources and knowledge in balanced stewardship planning and activities to ensure the sustainable, long-term management of the very lands that they live in and depend on. A provincial wilderness association is helping wilderness operators in this task through its Wildlife Stewardship Series. This series of workshops provides wilderness operators with effective, scientifically-backed strategies that can be combined with individual operators’ extensive territory-specific knowledge to create sustainable, well-informed land management plans.

Chilcotin Holidays understands that individual operators must do their part to hold themselves and other users of BC wilderness accountable for the long-term health of BC’s wild places. As such, Chilcotin Holidays is leveraging its resources and unequalled knowledge of the land to promote sustainable stewardship practices throughout its territory, which include the Bridge River Valley watershed, Big Creek Park, Taseko, Anderson Lake, and Seaton Lake.

The wilderness guides at Chilcotin Holidays are the eyes and ears on the ground. They cover every kilometer of Chilcotin Holidays’s 5,000 square kilometer territory on an almost daily basis. These guides are highly attuned to the state of the land. They are able to recognize trends in wildlife populations, habitat changes, the impact of resource extraction, and the effects of recreational activities. Chilcotin Holidays guides know that the wilderness has a carrying capacity, and they are the first to identify when the environment has reached its tipping point. The guides know when land and resource use oversteps the environment’s ability to regenerate and remain self-sustainable. This understanding has played a key role as Chilcotin Holidays assesses the abilities of wildlife populations, including mountain goats in the Shulaps and mule deer in the Bridge River Valley, to be self-sustaining. The team has recently identified an isolated population of mountain goats in the Shulaps that is not self-sustaining, and Chilcotin Holidays has acted on this knowledge by identifying methods through which they can restore the population to a self-sustaining size.

Extensive time in nature has taught the Chilcotin Holidays team that decisions must be based on the reality of the wilderness, and not a limited understanding of or assumptions about it. As such, Chilcotin Holidays is continually investing in conservation projects and wildlife studies that promote a solid, factual basis of data from which responsible stewardship plans can be made. Chilcotin Holidays has supported the accruement of valuable wildlife data through its grizzly bear hair DNA research, mountain goat population counts, Rocky Mountain Elk population assessments, California Bighorn Sheep population monitoring in the Big Creek area, and the record keeping of wildlife sightings in every single journey the team takes into the mountains.

Chilcotin Holidays is also acutely aware that targeted, purposeful action is the primary means for stewarding the land. Because of this, Chilcotin Holidays sponsors invasive plant management in the Five Mile Ridge area, in addition to removal of high-risk invasive species throughout its territory. Chilcotin Holidays also invests in habitat restoration and rehabilitation for many wildlife species and locations. These projects include restoration of moose wintering grounds near Pearson Pond and at the west end of Carpenter Lake, rehabilitation of migratory birds’ wetland habitats in Carpenter Lake, and rejuvenation of snowbrush for mule deer throughout their wintering ranges in the Bridge River Valley.

Chilcotin Holidays has also drawn upon its expertise of the territory to influence and create sustainable land management plans that promote long-term stewardship of its territory. In recent history, Chilcotin Holidays collaborated with wilderness associations, wilderness operators, and the Stewardship Foundation to create coordinated, high-level management plans, which have been termed the Evergreen Stewardship Plans. These plans balance environmental, social, and economic values to ensure sustainable use of land and resources. Prior to this, between 1999 and 2004, Chilcotin Holidays invested its detailed knowledge of the territory and the environment’s requirements for self-sustainability to inform the provisions of the Lillooet Land Resource Management Plan (LLRMP). The LLRMP guides management decisions for the use of Crown Land and resources throughout the Lillooet Timber Supply Area.

In addition to influencing government policies and land management plans, Chilcotin Holidays played a key role in creating the protected Big Creek Park and South Chilcotin Mountains Provincial Park. Both of these parks resulted from land management planning in which Chilcotin Holidays insisted upon a higher level of stewardship. By adhering to this principled, long-term stewardship approach, Chilcotin Holidays has played a key role in taking stewardship planning from simple, short-term management to long-term care for the wilderness and its resources. In this way Chilcotin Holidays recognizes that the wilderness belongs to future generations.

Chilcotin Holidays

About Chilcotin Holidays

We are a licensed guide outfitter and we conduct guided wilderness adventures throughout our 5,000 square km operating area. This guide area has been operational since 1880, making it the oldest in British Columbia. More about us HERE.

Subscribe to this Blog via Email :