The Federation of Mountain Clubs
of British Columbia

December 2018 NEWSLETTER


Right to Roam: A precedent-setting B.C. Supreme Court decision

As members of the Federation are aware, we have been quietly working on improving the non-motorized public’s rights to traverse private lands to access public lands and resources.

In early December 2018, a group of BC anglers won a longstanding "David and Goliath" court battle against billionaire American ranch owners, who had been blocking public access to two fishing lakes and a road near Merritt, BC. The BC Supreme Court ruled that the public should be able to access the lakes via the road, and criticized the province for failing to "prohibit what was an illegal obstruction of a public road by a corporate entity, for its own benefit."

This precedent-setting court ruling is exactly the kind of legal foothold the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC and our many provincial allies have been hoping for. The ramifications of this decision will provide advocates for improved backcountry access the ability to use the court’s ruling to demand that access to public lands be granted. (Photo: Carol Hunter)

Click here to learn more about this case and about Right to Roam in BC.

Manning Park "Donut Hole" - request for comments

BC Timber Sales (BCTS) has initiated an information sharing process with First Nations and stakeholder groups requesting comments and/or concerns regarding BCTS' proposed block and road development in the Manning Park "Donut Hole." As such, BCTS is also seeking comments from stakeholders with respect to the proposed operations and the potential impacts they may have on their plans.

Please read this letter from Qingcen Cai (BCTS Planning Forester) for more information. Deadline for comments to BCTS is December 21, 2018.

Have you read the latest issue of Cloudburst?

In case you missed it, the Fall/Winter 2018 issue of Cloudburst is now out! As usual, it's packed with great reads from members from every corner of province. Thanks to our loyal contributors, and to those who shared their stories for the first time.

  • Click here to view as a PDF
  • Click here to view through Issuu

And don't forget that submissions for our Spring/Summer 2019 issue are due April 1st. We welcome your articles, stories, photos (including summery cover photo submissions), reviews, trip reports, backcountry musings, and anything else you'd like to share. Please send your submissions to

Also, just a friendly reminder that this issue was digital only, so if you didn't receive a paper copy, that's why! The hardcopy version may make a reappearance in the future, but for now, Cloudburst will only be available online until further notice.

Welcome to our newest member of our Board of Directors

We'd like to welcome Jan Osborne to our Board of Directors! As a member of the Kootenay Mountaineering Club, and having spent over 30 years in both the East and West Kootenay, she’s familiar with the wilderness areas of both regions. With her knowledge and enthusiasm, we know she’ll make a great addition to the FMCBC Board!

Member Club Grant update

Back in 2013, we awarded the Kamloops Hiking Club a Member Club Grant to be put towards the Isobel Lake Accessibility Project, which was spearheaded by the Kamloops Thompson Trail Alliance. We were pleased to receive the news that this low-mobility trail is now finished and is ready for wheelchairs and persons with disabilities! This was a really ambitious project with years of hard work poured into it, and it turned out great.

Thanks to the KHC and all the other dedicated organizations for volunteering over 15,000 thousand hours of hard work! Read more on the KHC website. (Photo, taken in 2013, shows volunteers ugrading a bridge to allow for wheelchair access. Credit: Doug Smith)


Mountain Matters

Consultation period open for proposed national park reserve

The proposed national park reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen is now in its public consultation phase. Canadians are invited to share their views and ideas on the proposed boundary for the national park reserve and provide their input on key aspects for consideration in the management of the lands. Public input will be gathered online, through a consultation website, until February 28, 2019.

FVRD outdoor recreation study

The Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) is currently working on a year-long outdoor recreation economic impact analysis. The goal of this project is to quantify the value of outdoor recreation activities, both motorized and non-motorized, in the region. The information collected will address a critical need, as there is currently no data available specific to this region. The data collected will inform the FVRD about the spending patterns, travel behaviours and characteristics of outdoor recreation users in this region, which will be essential to future planning and infrastructure development.

The FVRD is reaching out to user groups, and there are plenty of opportunities for individuals to help out as well. Check out this media release for more information on the project and how you can support this "groundbreaking" initiative.

1,800 acres of land up for sale on the Sunshine Coast

An incredible piece of land is up for sale on the Sunshine Coast–one that deserves to be protected. The property spans three titles of land on the south side of Princess Louisa Inlet and adjoins existing conservation land. From the listing: "There has been approx 2221 acres of land turned into parkland in the Inlet. This 1783 acre offering is the last significant land holding in the Inlet which is not dedicated as park."


In the News


A reminder from BC Parks re: the Elfin Lakes Winter Pole Route in Garibaldi Provincial Park: "The winter pole route to Elfin Lakes has not yet been marked. Due to the dangerous terrain and avalanche conditions, unless visitors have appropriate training and equipment, travelling beyond Red Heather is not recommended. A reminder to visit park pages at prior to leaving on your trip, for current conditions all year."

Remember that epic cave recently discovered in Wells Gray Provincial Park? If you've figured out the exact location and decide to go adventuring, you could face a $1,000,000 fine for each day you're there and/or up to one year in jail. Until risks to public safety have been assessed and engagement with First Nations has been concluded, the newly discovered cave and surrounding area is closed to public access as per the Directors Order (PDF). The entire drainage of Ovis Creek within Wells Gray is closed to all recreational uses.

Congrats to the Powell River Parks and Wilderness Society (PR-PRAWS), an FMCBC member club, for constructing a new and much less “nasty” route to Confederation Lake. Read all about it.

Caught operating an off-road vehicle in BC Parks and other no-go zones, including southern mountain caribou habitats? You could face a $575 fine. Read more.

An audit of Western Forest Products Inc. on tree farm licence 39 (TFL 39) has found Western met the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act,
according to a Forest Practices Board report. The two blocks that were subject to the audit are located near Sayward on Vancouver Island and within the Great Bear Rainforest.

The 5th annual Winterstoke Backcountry Festival is happening on Jan. 24th – 27th. The Festival features four days of backcountry skills clinics for anything from ski touring essentials to big mountain skiing. Lean more.


Feature Photo Credit

Thanks to Jupiter MacDonald of the Mount Remo Backcountry Society for this month's feature photo of a group of friends out for a ski in the Shames Backcountry (a tour up Cornice Ridge and a descent in Ptarmigan Couloir, January 2014).

Click here to view our Fall/Winter 2018 issue of Cloudburst.

Use our online form to report motorized recreation observed within BC Park boundaries.

Visit Canada Helps to make a donation to the FMCBC. All donations go towards our Member Club Grant Program

The FMCBC is always looking for volunteers. Click here to find out how you can get involved.

The FMCBC is a proud member of:


As always, the FMCBC would like to thank Mountain Equipment Co-op for supporting the FMCBC through their generous contribution of office space from which to base our administration.

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