Chilcotin Parks Plan

Apr 8, 2014
by Lee Lau  
UPDATE: - comments deadline now extended to May 30, 2014


The South Chilcotin is one of the largest networks of contiguously linked subalpine and alpine singletrack in North America. Located just 5 hours from the major metropolitan area of Vancouver, mountain bikers have been venturing to the area to ride for past few decades. During that time they've happily co-existed with other recreational users and wildlife (account from one of the biking pioneers here).

In 2010, the Chilcotins became part of the BC Parks system. Mountain bikers initially viewed this development neutrally hoping that their long-standing use of the park would be recognized and grandfathered, as is generally true for most other user groups. BC Parks began soliciting comments on a plan for the Chilcotin in 2011, closing the initial public input process in early 2012. Comments and actions from Parks and other user groups during that phase alerted mountain bikers that the plan might not be very bike-friendly. The Draft Management Plans for the area have now been released and confirmed this suspicion with language that singles out mountain biking as an unwelcome activity and that proposes to restrict mountain biking.

While the Chilcotin attracts a growing ridership that ridership is without a voice. The purpose of this article is to analyze BC Park's draft management plan; explain the ramifications of the plan and to provide some comments. Hopefully other mountain bikers will see fit to also provide comments.

In summary, before 2010, the Chilcotins was not a park. Outdoor recreationalists could freely travel in the Chilcotins in the same way they can in the rest of British Columbia's crown land. After much of the Chilcotins became a BC Park, BC Parks proposes to limit outdoor recreationalists (with the majority of proposals targeting mountain biking). Parks also proposes to drastically limit floatplane useage; the means by which some mountain bike and hiking day trips are conducted.

Public comments on this draft plan must be received by April 30, 2014 to be considered.
See the links coming next as a way to provide public input. There is no geographical restriction on providing input so anyone can provide input ... whether you live here, or somewhere else; whether you've ridden or want to ride in the Chilcotin.

Tyax Ventures

Cinnabar Basin


Useful links

Some useful links are as follows:

- Home page for the Management Plans
- South Chilcotin and Big Creek Draft Management Plan
- Yalakom Draft Management Plan (Mountain biking will be prohibited on 9 Mile Ridge - a trail in this park)
- Online comment form
- PDF comment form

South Chilcotins and Big Creek Draft Management Plan

Relevant portions of the South Chilcotins and Big Creek Draft Management Plan as released for public input on March 19, 2014 ("Draft Plan") are reproduced below. Italics are the quoted text.

Please note that these are draft documents. The content was prepared in consideration of diverse input on recreational and conservation values. Changes are expected to these drafts based upon further input. Should you wish to provide input, please follow the directions on the webpage above or contact me directly to discuss your concerns or to set up a meeting.

2.5 - pg 15 - Hikers are 2/3rds of the park's user, biking is 1/3rd. Neglects to mention that many bikers also access day trips and multi-day trips via drive-to trailheads (same as hikers, and same as horseback riders).

Hiking is the most popular recreational activity occurring in the parks. It is estimated that close to two thirds of visitors participate in hiking activities. The trail system allows for hikes of one or two days in areas near the trailheads (Figure 5), or for multi-week hikes for those who wish to explore more remote areas.

Mountain biking has become increasingly popular. An estimated one third of visitors participate in mountain biking while visiting the parks. Warner Lake and Spruce Lake are the main drop-off points for many bikers, who access the park by floatplane and bike out to the Jewel Creek trailhead. A smaller number of bikers also use the other trails throughout the parks.

3.2.2 - pg 22 - singles out mountain bikers as more likely to impact grizzly bears

Hikers and horse riders are more likely to go off-trail and show up in unpredictable times and places, but the slow pace usually alerts bears to their presence well ahead of any encounter. Mountain biking is the most fast-paced activity, and depending upon frequency, time and area of use, has the highest potential for bear/human interactions or disturbance of bears. Interactions between bikers and bears have been documented in the park. All recreational activities within the parks are a potential threat to Grizzly Bear recovery if not carefully managed.

23-24 - re protecting grizzly habitat by closing or moving bike trails

Reduce or minimize human presence in important foraging areas, such as whitebark pine in fall or wetlands in spring and early summer. Move campsites and trails if necessary and possible. Avoid or minimize human presence in areas with concentrations of spring. Grizzly Bear forage areas (Figure 4). Of note are six general areas:

1. Large areas in the southwest corner of South Chilcotin Mountains Park, just outside of the park but also in the pass entering Leckie Creek in the area of Leckie Lakes.
2. The upper portions of North Cinnabar, Pearson, Taylor and Eldorado creeks.
3. The meadows south and west of Spruce Lake and extending north along Spruce Lake Creek.
4. The meadows along the north side of Tyaughton Creek from the confluence of Spruce Lake Creek.
5. The wetland areas in the northern half of Big Creek Park.
6. A large area encompassing much of Big Creek downstream from Lorna Lake to the confluence of Graveyard Creek, lower Grant Creek, Tosh Creek, Graveyard Creek, Little Graveyard Creek, and the area from Dash Hill to the northeast and into Dash Creek to the east.

The high recreational use area of Spruce Lake should receive specific management attention due to the concentration of human activities and proximity to bear habitat. Specific strategies for this area include:
- Any increase in facilities, trails and use within or immediately adjacent to the meadow complexes should be discouraged.


Tyax ventures will change your view on riding.

On bluffs overlooking Eldorado Creek


pg 26 - contains more restrictions identifying bikes

Specific attention should be put toward mountain biking activity. With input from commercial operators and any other mountain biking organizations, management of mountain biking should focus on:
 Further investigation into the possibility of restricting the timing, location and zoning of biking activity (e.g., make mountain biking predictable by concentrating by area and time, no use before 8:00 am or after 4:00 pm, 3 days a week; avoid any biking in May).
 Agreeing to a “Code of Conduct” on how to avoid conflict with bears or other wildlife and how to respond if wildlife are encountered.
 Monitoring of mountain biking activity.
 Recognition that successful integration of mountain biking and Grizzly Bear recovery will recognize that not all areas of the parks should be available for biking and there is a limit to the number of bikers using specific areas of the parks.


For an article in re Tyax ventures

Trails overlooking the Bendor Range


3.2.5 - pg 33 - identifies certain mountain biking guidelines under the "Recreation" heading. Many of these guidelines appear reasonable

Apply the following guidelines to mountain biking in the parks:
 Cross-country mountain bike riding, rather than downhill, will be the principal form of mountain biking in the parks.
 Development or construction of technical trail features will not be considered.
 Mountain biking will be restricted to existing or future trails; off-trail use will not be permitted.
Trails used by mountain bikes should have good sight lines on downhill sections (e.g., 3X3m width and height)..

pg 34

Work with the local communities and adjacent land managers to provide complementary recreational experiences in adjacent areas (e.g., providing mountain bike trails for those who want a more technical experience).

Use the separation of activities (e.g., use-specific trails in high use areas, twinning trails, timing, location, trail direction, etc.) as a suitable management tool in specific instances, but should not be used as a widespread strategy in the parks. Consider designing some trails for one user type (long sections of such trails should not exclude other users). This will make some trails generally more attractive to one user group, decreasing pressure on more heavily used trails. For example, consider construction of a new Tyaughton Creek trail, primarily for mountain bikers to attract bikers away from more heavily used trails; consider reopening the trail from Windy Pass to the north end of Spruce Lake for bikes only..

Under the heading of obligations undertaken by Tourism and Commercial Operations - pg 37

Encourage a shift from day-use mountain biking (fly in – ride out) to a more leisurely, group oriented, multi-day approach to reduce the potential for wildlife disturbance and conflicts with other users.

Tyax ventures uses horses on some trips.

Horses and bikers co-existing



On its face, the Chilcotins Draft Management Plan's general principles are innocuous but digging deeper there are substantial concerns that impact mountain biking. These are my questions.

Integrity of the survey

From October 2011 to January 2012, BC Parks conducted an online survey of Chilcotin park users (the "Survey")(results here). 1432 people responded. 55% of people mountain biked. 22% hiked. Note that many people crossed over taking part in more than one activity.

Yet the Draft Plan states that hikers comprise 2/3rds while bikers comprise 1/3rds of users. Can BC Parks explain the discrepancy between the Survey and the Draft Plan?

Singling out mountain biking

The plan is redolent of negative bias towards mountain biking in the park. Mountain bikers are singled out as the user group that needs to be controlled in time and scope of activity (3 days/week allowed to bike; only biking between 8am to 4pm). Mountain bikers are singled out as the user group more likely to spook grizzlies. They are the only group which have to be "monitored". Most troubling is the vague, amorphous and rather alarming statement that parts of the park will be off-limits of bikes in support of grizzly bear recovery. Note that it's only mountain bikers that would be the endangered species. Not hikers. Not horseback riders.

Can BC Parks explain why it is assumed that mountain bikers are the group which have the most negative impact on wildlife (particularly grizzlies) if Parks contends that mountain bikers are not the most populous user group in the park? Is there proof that mountain bikers have had a negative impact on grizzly bears?


2% of survey participants list grizzly bear conflicts as being an issue. With the assumption that BC Parks would engage aerial helicopter surveys from local companies I asked local heli companies (Blackcomb, CCH) whether aerial surveys had been conducted; establishing that none had been undertaken.

Cursory research has shown that the only number cited for grizzly populations is 203 from the Coast to Cascades Grizzly Initiative which cites a BC government Ministry of Forests 2012 bear population estimate. That BC Government estimate uses regression analysis modelling estimates on pre-selected variables. It does not rely on actual population counts.

Based on 14 years of experience travelling in the Chilcotin my gut feel was that the 200+ bear numbers was high. I'd expect to have multiple encounters on every trip (which most definitely was not the case)! I took the liberty of asking Warren Menhennick (40+ years of Chilcotin experience) and Jamie Davidson (60+ years of experience) their impressions. To paraphrase both of them were of their opinion that grizzly bears and outdoors recreationalists (whether on bike, foot or horseback) and grizzlies have co-existed in the past and could co-exist in the future. Both also viewed the 203 grizzly bear estimate claim to be somewhat surprisingly high. Note that the above are unsubstantiated opinions based on real-world observations but do beg the following questions. Are grizzly bear numbers known or are current numbers just a guess? Can BC Parks explain how they intend to base their decisions vis-a-vis grizzly Bears and conflicts with mountain bikers? Will BC Parks inventory the grizzly bear population numbers? Will BC Parks proceed under the assumption that mountain biking and grizzly bears cannot co-exist?


Manson Creek descent


Ideas without (resources for) implementation

For some time BC Parks has been denuded of resources and generally underfunded (article summarizing funding cuts here) to the extent that outhouses cannot be rebuilt and toilet paper procurement cut. In 2011 there were 10 full time rangers for the entire province. There are a lot of praiseworthy initiatives in the Draft Plan spread among the more dubious negative prescriptions targeting mountainbiking. They all share one thing in common; there is no budget to implement them. You will need resources (ie people and dollars) to develop educational and etiquette policies, decommission or relocate trails; police the times and dates that bikes can ride.

Can BC Parks explain how it will deliver on the ideas in the Draft Plan? Does BC Parks think its a good idea to promulgate regulation that is unpoliceable given its (i) lack or resources; and (ii) lack of evidence for such regulation; and (iii) its lack of resources to gather evidence for regulation?

Reasonable apprehension of bias

Several comments were made by the Draft Plan and Survey's author which give pause:

pg 1 Survey - It was known that a campaign was underway by the mountain biking community to provide input to the survey. This is likely the reason for the large number of respondents reporting as participating in biking and should be taken into consideration when viewing the results of this report.

pg 5 Survey - Keeping the park accessable [sic] for all users, and specifically for mountain biking, was the main input for future management. A lower number of recommendations called for removing hunting, setting carrying capacity for use and maintaining access. Again, it must be taken into consideration that most respondents were from the mountain biking community.

These comments are strange in at least a couple of ways. Firstly the reason for the public survey process is to gather as many responses as possible. Why then complain if a user group actually participates in the process and canvasses members to be active in the public process? Secondly, the author ignores the fact that other groups including hikers/mountaineers represented by the FMCBC (initial article & later more tempered submission) and at least some local groups (the Wilderness Stewards f/ka/ Chilcotin Wilderness Society) also actively solicited responses from their respective viewer base (submission here).

Why does BC Parks editorialize in a way to diminish the impact of mountain bikers' input into the Survey and Draft Plan? To the extent that BC Parks even takes user group's comments into account, how much impact does the bias in the document have on BC Parks' recommendations in the Draft Plan?

Undue Influence of competitors on the plan

A group of individuals known as the Wilderness Stewardship Foundation made a rather pointed submission to BC Parks during the public comment period. Many of their submissions were directed at regulating mountain biking and regulating floatplane flights into the park.

Many of their prescriptions particularly those targeting the floatplane tourism operator (Tyax Adventures) and targeting mountain biking made their way into the Draft Plan. There is another tourism operator in the Chilcotin competitive to Tyax Adventures --- Chilcotin Holidays. It is interesting to note that directors, guests and employees of Chilcotin Holidays are also on the board of the Wilderness Stewards namely the following persons:.

• Helen Williams - has been guest at Chilcotin Holidays (was listed as a director in a 2011-12 cached copy of the Wilderness Stewards website - entry now removed)
• Andre Kuerbis - manager at Chilcotin Holidays (was listed as a director in a 2011-12 cached copy of the Wilderness Stewards website - entry now removed)
• Rob Denier - employed by Chilcotin Holidays as an Outdoor Adventure Specialist.

(Please note that no aspersions are meant to the character of the persons named above. Google searches show the links between such persons and their associations with Chilcotin Holidays).

This leads to the following questions. Does BC Parks know about the ties of the Wilderness Stewards to a tourism operator in the Chilcotins? Why is BC Parks accepting the wholesale recommendations of one competitive outfitter against another outfitter? Is BC Parks being brought into the tactics of a competitor seeking to outmaneuver another tourism operator (Chilcotin Holdays vs Tyax Adventures? Is BC Parks concerned about the optics of seemingly adopting the role of advocating on behalf of a specific operator in the Parks they are attempting to regulate?

Germane references from the Wilderness Stewards submission which found their way into the BC Parks Draft Plan follow:

Tyax AIr references
pg 2 - Limitation of fly-in access within the park.

pg 10 - Ensure that efforts are made to minimize impacts of facility developments and visitor use on wildlife habitats or disturbance of wildlife. Aircraft use, helicopter use and other uses must be regulated to eliminate or reduce impacts.

pg 12 - To limit and regulate aircraft use in the park
• Monitor aircraft use and impose restrictions to prevent environmental or social impacts.

pg 18 - • Use will be monitored and operational measures may be applied to manage and limit visitor use if required to maintained the desired use levels. Measures could include longer hike-in routes, restricted air access, and user fees for visitors.

Mountain biking References
- pgs 15 - 16 - • Establish a zoning system for trails and designate trails for combination use or exclusive use:
- Designate trails that lead to the Chilcotin Holidays guest ranch as “horse use only”
- Lick Creek Trail
- B&F Creek Trail

Editorial note - Lick Creek and B & F trails are used by bikes. The effect of this proposal would be to close them to bikes for the benefit of Chilcotin Holidays.

Mountain Biking is a relatively new use form within the park area. As a form of non-motorized use, it will continue to be allowed in the park area. Limitations for suitability (wet soils, enclosed trails, etc.) apply to mountain bike use and management decisions must be made to reduce conflicts with other users.
Objective :
• To allow mountain bike use throughout the park within acceptable levels of impacts to trails, social experience and the environment.
• To resolve user conflicts between mountain bikers and other users of the trail system

Strategies :

• Permit Mountain Bike use within the park area. Mountain Bike use should not be promoted.
• Establish a zoning system for trails and designate trails for combination use or exclusive use:
- Day use zoning: Establish, designate and maintain Mountain Bike use only trails around
Tyax Lodge:
- On North and South ridges of Crane Creek
- On North and South ridges of North Cinnabar Creek
- Taylor Creek and Pearson creek mining roads, both multi use trails
- Fly-in day use: Establish, designate and maintain a new primary “Mountain Bike use only” trail from Spruce Lake to Tyax Lodge:
- From Spruce Lake Creek Trail
- Down Tyaughton Creek Trail leading East
- Connecting Mud Creek FSR leading South
- To Tyaughton Lake Road FSR
- Arriving at Tyax Lodge
- Multi-day use: everywhere on the park's existing trail system
- Fly-in access points for multi-day use on Warner Lake and Lorna Lake
• Mountain bike use should be monitored and, if use and related impacts dictate, portions of
the park may be closed to this activity.

Effect on trail maintenance

The BC Parks plan has many recommendations for trail work, trail realignment and trail closures. Most readers will view those prescriptions dubiously given the paucity (absence?) of Park's resources. Another consequence of BC Parks' recommendations is that the restrictions they will impose on floatplane flights (reduced hours of operations, limited flights per week) will probably put Tyax Adventures out of business. Tyax Adventures is a major contributor to trail maintenance and upkeep in the Chilcotins (so is Chilcotin Holidays for the record).

Does BC Parks have a plan to do trail maintenance and upkeep trails once their Draft Plan puts Tyax Adventures out of business? Does BC Parks have resources to implement such a plan?

Tyax ventures has cabins at their disposal

Eldorado Creek cabin - built, maintained by Tyax Adventures who also maintains the trails/bear caches around the area


Summary and comments required

To repeat the summary, before 2010, the Chilcotins was not a park. Outdoor recreationalists could freely travel in the Chilcotins in the same way they can in the rest of British Columbia's crown land. After much of the Chilcotins became a BC Park, BC Parks proposes to limit outdoor recreationalists (with the majority of proposals targeting mountain biking). Parks also proposes to drastically limit floatplane useage; the means by which some mountain bike and hiking day trips are conducted.

BC Parks has a lamentable reputation in accommodating mountain biking as a valid form of recreational use of parks. It seems that mountain bikers are a pariah user-group in the eyes of Parks. The recent farcical Garibaldi Park amended management plan exercise where public input was solicited then ignored was emblematic of this process (article re draft plan then final plan where survey numbers were cooked). The Chilcotin Draft Plan unfortunately seems to continue down this path.

At this point in time BC Park's process has done much to demonstrate that they are at best ambivalent and at worst, hostile to mountain biking. My input on the Draft Plan is that it needs a more measured approach that does not single out mountain biking as the problem group. If you agree with some or all of the analysis in this article please feel free to ask the following of BC Parks.

• Why are user group breakdowns so different from Survey to Draft Plan?
• Why does the Draft Plan single out mountain bikers as the group that will most negatively impact wildlife?
• From where does BC Parks establish grizzly bear population numbers?
• is there proof that mountain bikers have a negative impact on grizzly bears?
• If grizzly bear population numbers are based on estimates, is it appropriate to single out and limit one user group (mountain bikers) based on what amounts to guesses?
• From where will BC Parks will get resources to implement its policy recommendations?
• Why does the Draft Plan author seem to be so apprehensive of mountain bikers' interest in responding to the Survey?
• What impact did Chilcotin Holidays have on Draft Plan recommendations?
• If the Draft Plan puts Tyax Air out of business how will BC Parks replace the trail maintenance hole left behind?

In my opinion, this is not just a mountain biking issue. If you had a commercial operation, or were a hiker, mountaineer, ski-tourer, sledder, heli or float-plane-accessed any Crown land anywhere in this province and that land became a BC Park you should be concerned about how BC Parks is handling this process. Again, anyone living anywhere can comment. Be polite but do not hesitate to be pointed. Here are the comment forms

- Online comment form
- PDF comment form

Author Info:
leelau avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2009
125 articles

  • 16 0
 Someone pointed out to me that this article is very long and that people who don't know the area might not want to read all of it. Here's a summary:

The Chilcotin is one of the world's beautiful places to ride mountain bikes in the alpine. It's now become part of the BC Parks system. BC Parks has put forward a draft plan seeking to regulate and restrict mountain biking in the area.

The BC Parks's draft plan unfairly singles out mountain bikers as impacting wildlife. The draft plan is based on conjecture, guesswork and is unfair in its recommendations. Please ask BC Parks to make decisions on a science-based factual approach and not just restrict mountain biking because of stereotypes of the mountain bikers.

Comments must be received by April 30, 2014. Send comments here www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/planning/mgmtplns/lillooet/lillooet-dmp-online-comments.html
  • 5 6
 BC Parks.... taking the fun out of BC, one park at a time. Not surprising but they are so slow to enact anything. I wouldn't worry about it to much.
  • 1 0
 Thank you for your dedication and time in disseminating this information. I have read through the draft plan and written an extensively worded reply in support of mountain biking, and questioning their proposals and lack of supporting evidence.

Some articles others may wish to quote

BC Parks allow drilling and piplines

Comparing hiking, mountain biking and horse riding impacts on vegetation and soils in Australia and the United States of America

Pg 5: "Soil and vegetative changes on trail treads occurred rapidly initially and then tapered off, exemplifying the curvilinear use-impact relationship"
Pg 5: "Several USA studies report that even low levels of horse use results in more severe impacts to soils, vegetation and trails than from hikers or other users (Table 2). Differences were due to the greater weight per unit area of a horse and rider compared to a person. For example, the pressure per unit area of a horse and rider can be ten times greater"
Pg 5: "Under the conditions tested, researchers found no evidence that mountain bike impacts to soils, vegetation and trails were significantly greater than impacts from hikers. "
  • 1 0
 Pg 5: "The extent and severity of mountain biking impacts appears to be connected with different riding styles. Impacts are likely to be greater when riding is faster, less controlled, occurs on steeper slopes and in wetter conditions. In Western Australia impacts from different styles of bike riding were compared on trails (Goeft and Alder, 2001). Trail erosion and widening, soil compaction and vegetation damage on a recreational bike trail and a racing trail were recorded over 1 year in the wet and the dry season. Impacts were confined to the trail centre with few impacts to trailside vegetation, which is consistent with a past USA study (Bjorkman, 199Cool . Although the racing trail was wider after an event there was no widening over the longer term. The authors concluded that even though bike riders prefer downhill runs, steep slopes, curves and water stations (features related to higher impacts), mountain biking is sustainable so long as that trails are appropriately designed, located, and managed."

Basically: build the trails properly, and the trails take care of themselves.
  • 8 0
 Very important questions raised...Where is the evidence that mountain bikes impact wildlife more than other trail users? where is the evidence that grizzly bears in the south chilcotin are being negatively impacted only by mountain bikes? Why does the statement about 2/3 of park users being hikers fly directly in the face of BC Parks own counter numbers that indicate mtb's being twice as prevalent as hiking and horseback riding combined? I heard through the grapevine a figure from the Bralorne/Gold Bridge area from a weekend traffic survey coming over the Hurley Rd that suggested up to 70% of people heading north on Fridays were going mountain biking in the region. The draft plan also asserts that the majority of mountain bikers in the park access it via floatplane, parking at the Taylor or Gun Creek trail heads on any saturday morning will also quickly dispel that myth. It's really hard not to question the validity of the information in this plan, and question the motivations of those drafting the plan.

Yes it's true that more management and cooperation should take place to improve the overall health of the park, and trail system, but this plan is a wolf in sheeps clothing that plays into the desires of one anti-mtb commerical operator, and will likely severely curtail mountain biking in the area in the future.
  • 8 0
 I've been riding in the mountains of BC for thirty years, and there is nothing I love more than the freedom to move through awesome landscapes on amazing trails on my bike. However, wildlife in BC and around the world is in serious trouble. We are in the middle of one of the greatest extinction events in the geologic history of the planet, and the main cause is habitat disruption by people. If there is good science indicating that Chilcotin wildlife would be better protected if there were no mountain bikers, then we need to accept this. At the same time, the BC government is currently in the process of opening parks up to resource development such as mining and logging - the kind of activity that makes mountain biking seem totally harmless. It is this that we should all be standing up against. Thanks for bringing our attention to this important issue.
  • 1 0
 I agree. I love the mountains and spending as much time as I can in them. That being said every step I take off trail can and does have an impact on the environment. Tourism is great and brings in money to areas that doing have a reasonable product to offer. However tourism can have a negative side if it is not managed properly and sustainably. Tyax is a top notch venture and I do not agree on taking away its cliental. However we have to look at the bigger picture if we want to experience this land for ourselves AND have future generations do the same then we MUST appreciate understand and accept that we may need to take a step back and lessen traffic in the area.
  • 6 0
 Great job in analyzing the parks plan Lee! You've spent a lot of time and effort keeping us updated on what's going on in the South Chilcotin and it's highly appreciated. I'm a relative newcomer, with only two weeklong, self-supported trips and one fly-in trip under my belt, but as a Williams Lake resident and MTB industry advocate, I salute you for bringing this to the attention of the bike community.
  • 3 0
 Thanks Lee for your dedication and expertise in assessing and making public the need for continued vigilance in the face of Bc Parks and their abominable record with fact finding and public consultation. I have been a chilcotin mountain biker for 20 years- yes the number of mountain bikers is growing but not at an unmanageable rate. The riding season is short, sometimes not even lasting three months a year. However the real reality is that bc parks doesn't have the resources or fortitude to enforce any trail closures. Taking a cue from their disastrous public consultation process with respect to Garibaldi park, civil disobedience maybe the only route that mountain bikers have, however unfortunate and distasteful that maybe.
  • 3 0
 Page 37 of the report explains it to me. It is another case of the horse back riders vs bike riders. They think that since they have been around longer that they own all the trails. I think they are the ones putting pressure on the mountain bikers. They are more organized and active and therefore have more say with the parks board.
  • 1 0
 Agreed. And yet:


Pg 5: "Several USA studies report that even low levels of horse use results in more severe impacts to soils, vegetation and trails than from hikers or other users (Table 2). Differences were due to the greater weight per unit area of a horse and rider compared to a person. The pressure per unit area of a horse and rider can be ten times greater"
  • 5 0
 They just passed a bill to allowing drilling and pipelines in BC parks. Mountain bikers are obviously a much bigger problem.
  • 2 0
 According to the survey, the majority of respondents were from the biking community but only make up 1/3 of the users in the area? The biggest conflict in the area has always been bikers spooking horses not grizzlies. If bikers want to get respect in the Chilcotins they first have to earn it from the traditional users of the park, First Nations and horseback riders. Lets organize trail maintenance days up there and show them we are serious. Be a face and a name not just a number !
  • 1 0
 Wow Lee! Thank you for bringing this to our attention and huge kudos for your meticulous and detailed research! It sounds like BC Parks, who is short on resources, would benefit from having a mountain bike advocacy group much like the NSMBA or FVMBA. Volunteers leading the charge in maintaining trails, educating users and self-policing park rules would make a very strong case for BC Parks to not arbitrarily limit access to users who choose to access the park by bicycle.
  • 1 0
 Great article Lee - sending my comments now.

I love this area - one short trip to this area single handedly changed my approach to riding - this is real mountain biking!

my comments:

"Planning_Project: South Chilcoltin and Big Creek Park

I_Agree_With_The_Following: I agree that the South Chilcotin is an important area for grizzly habitat and it is important to balance public access and the impact human access has on the local wildlife habitats.

I_Disagree_With_The_Following: I disagree that mountain bikers are a more serious threat to these areas than horse back riders or hikers. I disagree with plans to limit access of mountain bikes to specific trails or times. I feel that this management plan is biased towards horse back riders.

Additional_Comments: I have both hiked and mountain biked in these areas - because I have used these areas I have learned to care about them."
  • 1 0
 i'm pretty sure you cannot hunt grizzly in this area. the main outfitter mentioned Chilcotin Holidays (operating under another name when leading hunts) has made a case for grizzly hunting (guided) in the area and been declined.
  • 4 0
 I guess that depends on how you define "area". There is an active Grizzly hunt this year 35kms from the parks boundary; one of the 1800 tags issued in the province. After seeing bears travel over the coast mountain range - 35kms is not that far for a bear. So, in this park we are restricting MTB to we don't harm G Bears, but 2 valleys to the west, in another park (Ts'ylos), you can shoot one. By the way Ts'ylos is larger than Big Creek / South Chilcotin and there is NO MTB riding allowed on the trails.

There is hunting in Big Creek / South Chilcotin park for Deer, Moose, Sheep and Goats; all these animals are listed within the Draft plan as reasons why recreation should be limited as well.
  • 2 0
 However build a pipeline in northern BC and take out the Provincial Park Rights by approving Bill 4 and then blame mountain bikers for destroying nature.... BC you make a lot of sense...
  • 2 1
 I can't edit my comment, but I wanted to add the only wildlife we even saw during our trip to spruce lake from tyax were MASSIVE black flies/horse flies. Outside of that it was relatively quiet.
  • 1 0
 Thank you for putting in the time and effort to keep these trails open. I hope one day to return to the area and ride these trails again. Comment left.
  • 2 0
 Pretty sure you can still hunt grizzly in that area just not ride a bike there!?? That makes sense
  • 2 0
 videos of pros roosting corners up there doesn't help
  • 1 0
 Thanks for this Lee, I will send the link around and dig up some more support.
  • 1 0
 Thanks Lee. I have submitted my comments and hope that they don't fall on deaf ears!
  • 1 0
 Comments submitted and passed info to any of my contacts with an interest in the area. ***fingers crossed***
  • 1 0
 Thanks for the article and comments sent
  • 1 0
 It almost sounds like vandeman wrote the plans..
  • 1 0
 Fantastic Lee, really thorough! Comments be a comin'
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