Winter recreation zoning near VOC huts

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It's no secret that there have been issues regarding the coexistence of motorized (generally snowmobiles) and "self-propelled" recreation (generally skiers and snowshoers) throughout the sea-to-sky corridor. In order to try and combat the flood of misinformation surrounding the topic, the VOC has tried to organize information regarding the areas surrounding our huts.

In general

After many years of negotiations between various parties, some agreements have been made - however there really hasn't been any advertisement, enforcement, or education. Please keep in mind that determining where you can and can't take is sled is actually pretty difficult to figure out, even with a reasonable effort. Don't be hostile - although it may have ruined your day, the sledders you encounter probably don't have a clue.

See the FMCBC's website regarding the latest updates on progress, and also check out the Land Resource Management Plan. In particular note that most the results of the Erlandson Report were finally accepted on March 12, 2009. If you only read one document, it should probably be this PDF.

Designations

Non-motorized use (RA1)

Self propelled activities that do not rely on a motorized vehicle for access or recreation use within a designated zone. Acceptable Uses / Activities:

  • Existing motorized and / or non-motorized commercial recreation uses and activities are acceptable if present.
  • Backcountry skiing, ski touring / mountaineering, cross-country / Nordic skiing, dog-sledding, snowshoeing
  • Non-motorized transport only. New non-motorized uses may be considered.

Non-motorized use with air access (RA1-A)

Self propelled activities that do not rely on a motorized vehicle for recreation use within a designated zone. Acceptable Uses / Activities:

  • Same uses as RA1, but aerial transport is allowed for drop off / pick-up of day use or multi-day recreation users.
  • Existing motorized and / or non-motorized commercial recreation uses and activities are acceptable if present.

Shared Use (RA2)

Shared use of an area based on temporal or seasonal arrangement between motorized and non-motorized users. May include the sharing of a trail, route, area or combination of uses. Acceptable Uses / Activities:

  • Transport as appropriate to the designations indicated in the management direction for each area. Existing motorized and / or non-motorized commercial recreation uses are acceptable if present. Additional recreation uses, including both public and commercial, must support maintenance of the balance between motorized and non-motorized use, respect existing use, and adhere to the sharing provisions as indicated in the management direction for each area.

Motorized Use (RA3)

Activities that rely on a motorized vehicle for access to and recreation use within a designated zone. Acceptable Uses / Activities:

  • Motorized and non-motorized recreation uses, including use of motorized conveyance to transport skiers and snowboarders to play areas.
  • Air and ground based transport.
  • New motorized and non-motorized uses may be considered.

Burton

The Burton Hut in Sphinx Bay is within Garibaldi Park. You shouldn't encounter anything with a motor here, except for the occasional flight-seeing fly by (except certain areas in the North parts of the park, where heli-skiing was grandfathered in - but that's a good ways away from the Burton Hut). This is actually fairly well signed on the Western side of the park, and fairly well known within the motorized community. See the Garibaldi Park Master Plan as a reference.

Phelix

The Brian Waddington Hut near Phelix Creek is within special zoning, RA1-A (non-motorized, with air access), the VOC would have preferred RA1 (no air access), given that a fit party can easily reach the hut on skis in 1 day with enough time left over to still get a few runs, but you get what you get - we are not the only players here.

Roughly, the region:

  • contains the hut and much, but not all, of the surrounding terrain and approach
  • includes Mount Taillefer, and some of it's surroundings
  • extends as far as the Phelix Creek Watershed (this is also the LRMP boundary) to the North and East. To the North this is the height of land inbetween Aragorn and Shadowfax - the Aragorn glacier, in particular, is outside the region.
  • does not include the start of the logging road approach - you should expect to share the road with sleds up until roughly the junction with Phelix Creek East FSR (4.2km up the road)
  • does not include anything SE of Phelix Creek East FSR

A (reasonably) detailed map of the area was included as part of the Erlandson Report, but it does not seem to be reproduced in the final amendments for reasons which are not clear.

Harrison

The Julian Harrison Hut near Meager Creek is within special zoning, RA1-A (non-motorized, with air access).

Roughly, region:

  • Includes the hut, Overseer, and South Creek
  • Is bordered by the treeline above the Lillooet River valley, the Meager Creek valley, and the Ryan River valley

A detailed map of this area does not exist.

Harrison Hut is the VOC's most remote hut situated on the far north end of the Pemberton Icecap. Winter access requires up to 40km of travel on an unplowed forest service road, potentially a river crossing, and a 6km bushwack skin. Alternatively, it can be access through a multi-day traverse of the Pemberton Icecap from the Rutherford Emergency Shelter, or from Ring Lake in Callaghan Provincial Park. Due to the extremely remote and difficult nature of accessing the hut in winter, the VOC accepts entry and exit access by Helicopter. This is the ONLY INSTANCE of motorized access at ANY of the VOC huts which the VOC accepts and only if there are no non-motorized travelers in the time frame you wish to access the hut. If you intend to access the hut via Helicopter, you MUST register and accept that you are second in priority to any non-motorized travelers. Include the full details of how many are in your party, the dates and times of helicopter access, contact information, and the company you flying in with. In addition, please bring with you your own firewood. The firewood at the hut is collected from treeline alpine and is a very limited resource and by bringing in your own wood we can preserve the wood at the hut for non-motorized users and reduce our overall stress on the environment. If there are ANY conflicts as a result of motorized users willfully abstaining from the procedures set out herein, the VOC will not hesitate to revoke this policy.

Brew

Land use planning initiatives are underway in the Brew Mountain area; at this time non-commercial recreation zoning in this area is unresolved. However, the steep forested approach to the area as well as the fact that Brew isn't really on the way to anywhere means you do not often encounter snowmobiles near the hut.

Powder Mountain Catskiing also operates in the area, and is generally supportive of grooming a trail off along the Chance Creek FSR such that it's easier for sleds to go that way, lessening the number of sleds who head up the Roe Creek FSR. Near the hut their tenure extends as high as the ridge above Roe Creek, all the way to the back of the valley on both sides, so you should expect to find them driving their snow-cat on the Roe Creek FSR. For this reason, please do not block Roe Creek FSR with your vehicle (not that you should never block a FSR with your vehicle).