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2020 in the Media

BC Parks approves heli-ski landing zones in Garibaldi Park's wilderness conservation zone

June 23, 2016

Mapping by 2020 reveals for the first time that a commercial recreation park use permit for helicopter landing zones inside Garibaldi Park's wilderness conservation zone was granted to Whistler Heli Skiing Ltd. by BC Parks.

The map is on the 2020 web site here: Helicopter landing zones in Wilderness Conservation Zone of Garibaldi Provincial Park

If that is not bad enough, harmful noise from Decker, Trorey and Tremor landing zones (LZ) blankets virtually the entire ungulate winter range on the south side of the Spearhead Range, an area of approximately 12 km2.

2020 combined the boundaries of the Whistler Heli Skiing park use permit that was acquired by its FOI request, the wilderness conservation zone from the 1990 Garibaldi Park master plan and the 2 km radii around the LZ, which is the accepted closest limit for harmful helicopter noise that can be tolerated by mountain goats.

According to the government's own research:

Mountain goats appear to react to human disturbance to a higher degree than most ungulates, and appear to react strongly to helicopters. Recommended distances that helicopters should not approach mountain goats vary. Côté (1996) and Festa-Bianchet and Côté (2008) recommended a 2000-m buffer zone around alpine areas and cliffs known to support mountain goat populations, and that during any infringement on this zone, helicopters should maintain > 300 m above ground level.

See section 4.4.3 Disturbance Management Recommendations in this document: Mountain Goat Management Plan, May 28, 2010 

For the Wilderness Conservation Zone boundary, see the Zoning Map on page 10 of the 1990 Garibaldi Park Master Plan: Garibaldi Park Master Plan 1990

Even 2020 was shocked when we overlayed the park use permit boundary and landing zones over the wilderness conservation zone. BC Parks has conveyed to both B.C. Mountaineering Club and Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations that the wilderness conservation zone, in their opinion, cannot support a wilderness trail such as Darling Lake Heritage Trail. But, apparently, commercial recreation is permitted and so is destruction of mountain goat winter range, as long as it benefits commercial recreation.

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