Frisby Ridge caribou closure repealed opening access to sledders

The voluntary Caribou Closure on Frisby Ridge, in place for the last 14 years and managed by the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club, ran from Jan 1 to April 15.

File photo. Photo: Revelstoke Snowmobile Club

The Revelstoke Snowmobile Club’s voluntary caribou closure on Frisby Ridge was repealed on Wednesday after multiple parties determined it no longer supports recovery objectives north of Revelstoke. The B.C. Ministry of Forests decided that despite the 14-year voluntary closure, the Frisby herd is now listed as functionally extirpated, says the B.C. Snowmobile Federation (BCSF).

The BCSF, in partnership with the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club and the Ministry of Forests, announced the caribou closure’s repeal, stating its immediate effect in a press release on November 9, 2022.

The caribou herd’s disappearance from the area means the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club need not maintain the closure as it no longer contributes to recovery efforts.

President of the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club, Todd Dumais, calls the news “fantastic.”

“It’s great news because people get to access more terrain in areas we specifically groom,” he says. “Having this area accessible all year long now is going to be better for the sport; more people can enjoy the backcountry.”

The area highlighted in yellow indicates the repealed closure area. Effective immediately, the Frisby Ridge caribou closure is no longer necessary, says BCSF. Photo: BCSF

“This is an example of the Province working with the BCSF and our local member snowmobile club to ensure that Motorized Vehicle Closures support our original collective objective of recovering caribou herds,” says Donegal Wilson, Executive Director of the B.C. Snowmobile Federation. “If herds again move into Frisby Ridge, the Province, the BCSF, and the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club will work together to create a new plan for how we can best support the recovery of caribou in the Region.”

The Revelstoke Snowmobile Club has held a management agreement with the Ministry of Environment for the past 14 years, and the arrangement did not come about easily. The Club’s initial permit application was rejected, with The Ministry sighting their intention to close Frisby Ridge to all snowmobiles to protect the Caribou.

However, the club was willing to fight for a solution. The Club’s proposal of a voluntary partial closure to protect critical habitat for mountain caribou helped keep the rest of Frisby open for snowmobiles. The club has enforced the closure diligently to protect wildlife and snowmobile access for the community. With the repeal of the closure, new terrain is now available to sledders.

Caribou Closures will still be in effect from Jan 1 to April 15 at popular snowmobile destinations like Sale Mountain and Keystone & Standard Basins. The Frisby Ridge closure repeal could help divert traffic from popular destinations like Boulder Mountain, says Dumais, opening up more opportunities for riders to enjoy the backcountry.

“The RSC would like to thank the many volunteers that worked diligently for the last 14 years to patrol and maintain the closure areas on Frisby Ridge”. Says Dumais. “We want to also thank the snowmobile community for their integral role in respecting these boundaries. The RSC looks forward to continuing our work with stakeholders to ensure herd recovery is successful in other tenure areas.”

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Nora Hughes is a recent graduate of the Thompson Rivers University Interdisciplinary Program, where she combined her passions for Adventure Tourism, Communications and Journalism. With a strong interest in community news, Nora is passionate about giving a voice and face to the people of Revelstoke through storytelling.