Perspective on Retallack Proposal by Local Author/Historian

Perspective on Retallack Proposal by Local Author and Historian Luanne Armstrong.

Note: The deadline for feedback to the Ministry has been extended until June 14th.

Email your comments to:
Christine Lohr, Land Officer, Kootenay Boundary Region,
CC to: Doug Donaldson, FNLRORD at
CC to: Michelle Mungall, MLA, at
Quote file # 4405 893

May 8, 2018: Boswell, BC – I have spent the last two weeks studying the Retallack Proposal for heli-skiing and heli-biking on the east shore. I will tell you up front that I am very opposed to this proposal as it stands, because of its size, its potential impact on our community, and its potential impact on all the wildlife of the south Purcells. I am not at all opposed to tourism or tourist development that fits with our beautiful community.

In terms of scope, this proposal is asking for tenure on most of the alpine areas of the south Purcells, right from along the edge of Purcell Wildnerness Conservancy as far as Lockhart and then back east to the St. Mary’s drainage. Please look carefully at the maps in the online proposa.

This morning, Terry Turner, who has hiked almost every mountain in the Purcells, came for tea and we looked carefully at all the maps and identified the helipad locations and fuel caches. So I urge all you to download this proposal and read it very carefully, looking at all the maps, all the proposed 161 kilometes of bike trails, mostly through alpine areas, all the proposaed helipads and fuel caches, both at Kaslo and Ainsworth, as well as all along the east shore. There is a possibility of 12 flights or more per day, (according to Wildsight figures), mostly over Crawford Creek Pass, Rose Pass, and Gray Creek Pass.

It has been shown in other areas that the noise of helicopters, hikers and skiiers have a very deleterious effect, particularly on grizzly bears, wolverines, and mountain goats. All of the populations of these animals are presently dropping. Noise also has a huge impact on bird populations.

The spill of helicopter fuel in Lemon Creek in the Slocan is still in court, many years later. Any spill in any creek, leading into Kootenay Lake, would be disastous. The fish population in Kootenay Lake is right now in trouble due to a virus in the Kamloops Trout, the extirpation of the South End Kokanee population, and the dropping numbers of Kokanee spawners in the creeks around the lake.

This is not a Ktunaxa proposal. The Yaqan Nukiy people would have some share in the lodge to be built at Burden’s Cut. No one has yet seen this agreement and there are letters from people in Yaqan Nukiy who are very opposed to this development.

Tourism would not benefit much from this. Retallack sells “in house” three to five day packages that are contained within the lodge and the up to five mountain “cabins.” Many people will come in by shuttle bus to the lodge so there will be almost no opportunity to visit the rest of the community. In fact, I have had communications with people in New Denver who have found that Retallack is not a good neighbour and has tried to shut down competing businesses.

As a community, we have until June 14th to communicate our concerns to the government. If the community is not in favour of this development, it will not go forward. My position is that this proposal is too big and too few people understand it. I am going to say to the government, please just stop while we study this, organize community meetings where people can share information and concerns. I believe we definitely need to develop land committees to come up with policies that will ensure that development in our community takes in all the aspects of such development, including on wildlife and ecology. Impacts on wildlife and ecology are present not taken into account in these proposals, and there is also no monitoring in place.

Personally, I believe the impact of such a huge proposal on our community will be very deleterious to both the wildlife, the ecology, and the people. I am not in any way against sane, sensible tourism development that fits with our small community and our way of life.

Here are the addresses you need to know. Also, please free to get in touch with me either by phone (250-223-8203) or by email, I am going to continue to study, research and write about this proposal. I am quite willing to come speak anywhere, anytime.


Public Website:

For further information or to express your point of view, contact:

Christine Lohr, Land Officer, Kootenay Boundary Region,
CC to: Doug Donaldson, FNLRORD at
CC to: Michelle Mungall, MLA, at
Quote file # 4405 893

Here is a summary of the proposed tenure but it is much more complicated than this; there are seven proposed helipads and a possibility of twelve helicopters per day over Crawford and Gray Creek.

Potential Future Lodge location – Lower reaches of La France Creek (Burdens Cut) on Lower Kootenay band treaty negotiated land. Two Operating Zones will be used for heli skiing, heli assisted ski touring, heli biking, mountain biking, heli hiking, and more…The exact usage rates are somewhat unclear but it will be in the thousands. Question: Is max capacity for the South Purcells 3600 yearly or 3600 for heli skiing? 71,000 ha of proposed all season and multiple use section 17 tenure for 45 years. 161km of alpine mountain bike trails – all new and presumably mainly alpine trails in areas that see very little human use

Drainages Affected, North to South:

  • Powder Creek
  • Bernard Creek – upper Bernard is high value – lots of moderate passes/terrain, lakes, etc.
  • Loki Peak:last unloaded drainage draining into Kootenay Lake other than Lockhart south of the Conservancy
  • Upper Crawford
  • Tom O’Shanter
  • Indian Creek
  • South 59,000 ha

Drainages Affected – Phase Two Development, North to South:

  • Pretty much all drainages in this tenure are high value for grizzlies, goats, wolverines, intactness, etc.
  • Upper St Mary’s River and Dewar Creekincluding Calamity, Coppery, La Pierre, Office, Sawyer, Morris Flatrock, and Hungary Creek(s).
  • White Creek from forks north just north of to boulder creek encompassing small tributaries and mountain to valley terrain on both side of valley including subdrainages northwest of Berglien lake and mount patrick and manson drainage.
  • South to Higgins Peak and unroaded unnamed steep drainages that flow into white creek and St Mary’s.
  • Middle St Mary’s and Redding – Mt Bonner and all of the lower and middle reaches of Redding Creek.
  • Lower reaches of Baribeau
  • All of Parkers Creek
  • All of Hall Lake Creek
  • All of unnamed and unroaded drainage East of Hall Lake Creek – high wildlife value.
  • All of Tower creek – currently intact and believed to be very high value.
  • Lower St Mary’s and Meachen Creek (could see most action for winter heli skiing given proximity to proposed lodge location)
  • Upper Murphy and almost all of Pyramid creek included in tenure.
  • Lower and middle sections of meachen on both sides of valley
  • Mayo and Aisla Lake Drainages – caribou concerns?
  • Snowcrest and Mount Evans
  • Mallendine Pass

Here are just a few questions for which there are no answers.

Nothing is known about the impact of this development on traffic, noise, ferry delays, land prices, increased taxes, or where workers would stay. Following is a partial list of questions. Please feel free to add your own. We need an immediate moratorium on this development until as least some of these questions can be answered. For example, they promise “to leave no trace on the landscape.” How is this compatible with building bike trails, helicopter landing pads, and constant noise? We need an organized and collective community response to this proposal We need moratorium to be be instituted so that the community can be fully informed and studies can be done as to whether this proposal is compatible with our community values or not.

Retallack Development Questions:

1. We need a copy of the actual plan, not just vague ideas of a Lodge of an unknown size, possibly at Burden’s Cut, possibly at La France Creek. Retallack has not come to the community with concrete information as to things like sitings of helicopter pads, numbers of flights, carbon footprint of the development. The only information that has been made is on the government website. Neither Retallack nor the Yaqan Nukiy has come to the community and made themselves open and available with specific information of the impact of this proposal on this community. So far, we have had a poster meeting with vague promises that this will somehow be a “low impact” development.

2. The East Shore is a small, close community with a high population of retired seniors. Issues for community impact would include noise, intrusion, access to the back country, ferry waits, lack of services on the east shore, lack of affordable housing on the east shore, high land prices and high taxes.

The East Shore is presently served by narrow twisty road that tends to be very crowded in the summer. There is also a tendency in both the summer and winter for the ferry to be very overcrowded. This means that people can often be delayed from doctor’s appointment or jobs or other necessities. The road in winter is often unsafe due to lack of maintenance. More traffic will certainly not make it safer.

4. Studies need to be done of the impact of traffic on the east shore communities. In addition, studies need to be done on the impact on summer visitors who encounter crowded roads, noise from helicopters, overcrowded beaches, and lack of access to Kootenay Lake, which is already a big issue, both or locals and for tourists. This proposal could very much have a deleterious affect on tourism.

5. Studies need to be done of the impact of heli-skiing, heli-mountain biking on wildlife, and ecology. Studies need to be done especially on the impact of trail building and lodge building on such endangered species as grizzlies, wolverines, cougars, wolves and many other species.

6. The community needs to be clearly informed about the actual footprint of the proposed lodge, of parking, of sewage disposal, of housing for servers, of lights at night, of where parking will be sited, and many other issues.

7. What is the nature of the actual partnership of the Yaqan Nukiy and Retallack? What are the financial arrangements that have been made? Who in Yaqan Nukiy actually supports this? Do the rest of the Ktunaxa agree with this propsal, since there is a very high possibility according to Wildsight that the grizzly population of the South Purcells will be adversely affected? How does fit with the Yaqan Nukiy creed that they are the protectors of the land in the Kootenays, that their elders have told them in particular to protect the grizzly bears, which are the sacred animals of the Yaquan Nukiy spirituality?

9. What guaranteed protection will the community have for access to the backcountry. Retallack has not been a good neighbour in terms of of access in New Denver and has apparently blocked access to snowmobilers and hikers and tried to shut down competing businesses.

10. What will be the impact of this development on land prices and land taxation? Land prices are already extremely high on the east shore and it is extremely hard for young families to purchase land or be able to live on the east shore.

11. How will this proposal actually balance the promised “economic use of the land with cultural and spiritual values.” What does that specifically mean in practise? How does the project, “ensure long term sustainability and ecological integrity.” How will this project “maintain, protect manage and restore healthy and diverse ecosystems.” What actual strategies would be used to accomplish this?

12. How does this project somehow maintain “carbon neutrality.” In an era when the threat of global climage change is looming, and scientists are calling for definite strategies to limit carbon emission, how does burning helicopter fuel, increased car traffic, creating parking lots and helipads, somehow not create increased carbon emissions?

13. How do mountain bikers speeding down a mountain somehow maintain a hundred meter distance from wildlife? How does person “avoid when seen” wildlife? What kind of “guest training” will be given. How will this enable mountain bikers, skiers, and other people in the back country to not have an impact on wildlife ecology?

14. Who will actually be monitoring and checking on whether people are harassing wildlife by attempting to view them, take pictures, or hover over wildlife with helipcopters? Or will there be any monitoring at all.

Report from Retallack/Ktunaxa Informational Meeting – Back Country Adventure Tenure Request

Retallack/Ktunaxa Back Country Adventure Proposal

by Ingrid Baezel, Mainstreet

At the April 25 Open House at the Crawford Bay School performance space, Retallack and the Lower Kootenay Band welcomed well over one hundred people to view and discuss their proposal for tenure to operate a back-country adventure tourism endeavour.

Image result for retallack ktunaxa

The partners have jointly submitted an application for a tenure on the east side of Kootenay Lake, south the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy. The proposed 70,000 ha (177,000 acre) multiple use tenure will allow for guided hiking, horseback riding, climbing and mountain biking in summer and guided ski touring, heliskiing, mountaineering, snowshoeing and dogsledding in winter. According the informational placards up at the open hours, the project envisions the following:

  1. Winter guided adventure tourism activities including ski touring, heliskiing, mountaineering, snowshoeing and dogsledding.
  2. Summer guided adventure tourism activities, including hiking, horseback riding, climbing and mountain biking.
  3. A future lodge locatedon the traditional Gambling Otter land of the yaqan nu?kiy.

The proposed tenure area encompasses a traditional connectivity corridor and trade route between the Ktunaxa peoples. The proposed area of 70,000 ha will allow for the disbursement of potential impacts and user conflicts. The projected use is up to 36 guests per day per summer or winter operating season (each approximately 100 days in duration). In total this will result in a maximum of 3600 guest days per operating season.

The two organizations had several representatives on hand to answer questions and delve a little more deeply into their proposal. People expressed a wide range of reponses to the proposal, from absolute support and appreciation to scepticism and outright rejection. In discussion with several different local residents, Mainstreet heard responses such as, “I’m excited to see the opportunities this proposal might bring to our region,”and “I’m terrified of the impact these helicopters will have on wildlife and our serenity.”

The general sentiment appeared to be one of general support but with caveats. Most residents expressed that they’d like to see as few helicopter tours per day as possible and wish they could know that actual sound impact of these flights. “I hope that this doesn’t become a sound pollution annoyance,” said one attendee. “I don’t see how it won’t.”

In discussion with Chris McNamara, chairman and CEO of Retallack, he expressed that they would be (like North West Mountain Experience) using AStar helicopters, which are substantially more quiet and nimble. The down side of these helicopters, when the numbers are crunched, is that they carry fewer passengers, so that presumably implies more flights per day. McNamara explained that they might be looking at up to 36 visitors per rotation (every three or so days). Because the AStars carry only four or five passengers, that would presumably mean 9 or 10 trips every time they bring people up to the lodge, and 9 or 10 trips every time they bring people back down. If the larger helicopters (205/212) are used, that would imply about half so many trips, but they are reportedly louder and more impactful, not to mention harder to easily manoeuvre in tricky terrain.

Retallack already has an existing lodge in the Selkirk mountains between New Denver and Kaslo. They currently have approximately 800 existing clients and boast an 85% return rate.  So far, they have seen substantial success doing their catskiing operation out of that location, which encompasses over 10,000 acres (the new proposal in the Purcells is for over 70,000 hectares). McNamara said that Retallack has been largely responsible for the much of the economic stability in the area, due to the numbers of wealthier outdoor enthusiasts coming in. He spoke to an absolute willingness to partner with local East Shore businesses and do their best to shop and support locally.  Skeptics of the project say they fail to see that partnering having lasting impact and question how the partnership will actually directly and positively impact existing businesses that are typically closed or hours are deeply reduced in the winter months.  McNamara said they would be eager to hire locally for not just the start of the project with building and implementation, but that the project could offer an array of long-term employment for all ages. They are estimating 125 new jobs being created.

Many at the meeting expressed profound concern for the impact on wildlife and pristine, untouched back country area. The concern for the dwindling caribou population and quietude of hibernating animals and their well-being is pervasive. As Wildsight has recently reported, the Purcell caribou herd has only very recently been recorded as having dwindled down to four remaining animals, along with the mere three remaining in the Selkirk range. This project has them very concerned for the future well being of these threatened creatures among so many other species.

McNamara said that one of the first things that Retallack and the LKB would be working on is a real-time GPS system to create a data base of existing animals and their habitats in the area. This would be ongoing and would help create census data and build a real time map to help protect species existing in the area and respect their habitat. He expressed the long-standing and devoted stewardship of the land by the Ktunaxa people and their full support and involvement with this project would surely hold everyone to account and keep preservation and protection at the forefront of the project as it develops.

The proposal representatives have said they aim for carbon neutrality and expect to perhaps even achieve carbon negativity in this project. When asked how that would be achieved, McNamara said that they would be purchasing carbon offsets and doing all they could to reduce emissions and their carbon footprint in perpetuity. “If we could use electric helicopters and plug into micro-hydro systems today, we would,” said McNamara.

For those wishing to give feedback on this proposal, we have until May 13 to do so. Go to the following link: and send in your thoughts on the proposal. Now is the time for input to allow for amendments to the proposal and have a say in the process. It has been suggested that copying those thoughts and sending them to the directors of the RDCK and the RDEK might be useful as well.

Wildsight will be hosting a meeting at the Gray Creek Hall on May 3 at 7pm to discuss environmental and animal impacts of the projects being proposed. All are welcome to attend.

Open Meeting – Retallack Adventure Tourism Proposal





April 16, 2018, Creston, British Columbia, Canada

The Lower Kootenay Band (yaqan nuʔkiy) and Retallack have partnered to provide a range of guided adventure tourism activities, both summer and winter, within the Ktunaxa Traditional Territory (Ktunaxa ʔamakʔis) in the Southern Purcell Mountains.

The partners have jointly submitted an application for an innovative adventure tourism tenure on the east side of Kootenay Lake, south the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy. The proposed 70,000ha (177,000 acre) multiple use tenure will allow for guided hiking, horseback riding, climbing and mountain biking in summer and guided ski touring, heliskiing, mountaineering, snowshoeing and dogsledding in winter.

“We are interested in developing an innovative, diverse and sustainable adventure tourism economy for the long-term well-being of the Ktunaxa people and local communities. We are pleased to partner with Retallack who has a proven local track record of business turnarounds, operational excellence, environmental leadership and innovative growth expansion into new markets. In our opinion this application presents a model of stewardship, that balances local environmental, social, cultural, and economic values,” said Chief Jason Louie.

“It is important to note that the proposed tenure area is not in current or recently proposed Federal or Provincial Caribou habitat. With the exception of the construction of a limited number of mountain biking trails, the application proposes to use the current land base ‘as-is.’ No new roads will be constructed and old growth, including the sacred White Pine, will be protected. This will h

elp with the ongoing preservation of wild spaces. In keeping with Ktunaxa values there are also a number of innovative conservation strategies that have been proposed, for example, the use of

wildlife technicians who will facilitate better ongoing monitoring and management and the commitment in our management plan for our operations to remain carbon neutral or even negative,” said Curtis Wullum, LKB Director of Development Services.

“By proposing this locally-based project we

 are looking to help create and support long-term local employment and existing businesses but also shape this operation so that it becomes an example of how to create and manage a sustainable operation that benefits the public, the Ktunaxa people and the habitat that we share with wildlife. We are entering a new age of reconciliation and we are excited with our new First Nations partnership. For over 13,000 years, the yaqan nuʔkiy have inhabited the Kootenays. Their local land management and wildlife knowledge is second-to-none. There are many First Nations values and principles that can be applied to enable this to become a

model of stewardship that is reflective of and adaptive to public and wildlife concerns. We therefore remain open to public consultation and suggestions for improvements to this application,” said Chris McNamara, Retallack CEO.

To submit additional comments and suggestions please E-mail

About yaqan nuʔkiy (Lower Kootenay Band)
Historically and since time immemorial, the yaqan nuʔkiy were the original inhabitants of the Lower Kootenay area. The name yaqan nuʔkiy literally means “where the rock stands” and refers to an important place in the Creston Valley.

The yaqan nuʔkiy is one of six bands that make up the Ktunaxa Nation. Four of the bands are located in British Columbia and two in the United States:
• yaqan nuʔkiy – Lower Kootenay Band (Creston, BC)
• ʔakisq̓nuk – Columbia Lake Band (Windermere, BC)
• ʔaq̓am – St. Mary’s Band (Cranbrook, BC)
• ʔakink̓ umǂasnuqǂiʔit – Tobacco Plains Band (Grasmere, BC)
• ʔaq̓anqmi – Kootenai Tribe of Idaho (Bonners Ferry, Idaho)
• k̓ upawi¢q̓nuk – Ksanka Band (Elmo, Montana)

The Traditional Territory of the Ktunaxa Nation covers approximately 70,000 square kilometres (27,000 square miles) within the Kootenay region of south-eastern British Columbia and historically included parts of Alberta, Montana, Washington and Idaho.
The people of yaqan nuʔkiy speak the Ktunaxa language which is one of the eleven original aboriginal language families in Canada. The language is an isolate and is not related to any other language in the world.

About Retallack
Retallack is based in Nelson, BC and provides world-class backcountry catskiing, snowboarding and mountain biking adventures in the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. Retallack was the first operator in its industry to receive a prestigious 4-Green Key Eco-Rating for demonstrating “national industry leadership and commitment to protecting the environment through wide ranging policies and practices.”


Report from Informational Meeting – North West Mountain Experience’s Ski Touring Proposal

Image result for backcountry skiing

Approximately 25 people attended the April 18, 2018 informational meeting regarding one of two proposals which could impact East Shore residents in significant ways (this one by North West Mountain Experience is to start an Eco-Adventure Tourism program in the Purcells on Armour Mountain).

Daniel Morton, along with his wife Mary and their son Logan, arranged to present the plan to East Shore residents at 7pm on April 18 at the Crawford Bay Hall. Daniel is an ACMG (Association of Mountain Guides) Backcountry Ski Guide and his wife Mary is a professionally trained chef. Their company is called North West Mountain Experience and is based out of their home in the Slocan. They have been renting backcountry huts and lodges and touring groups (they have around 500 regular guests and an approximate 80% return rate) all over southern BC and into Alberta for many years now. Morton expressed that it’s become harder to secure huts and lodges with the high demand of back country skiing and excursions. They have to book years in advance and it requires a huge amount of planning, says Morton.

NWME is asking permission to build a lodge to sleep 12 guests and 4 staff (and eventually an additional guest hut) between the East Shore and Kimberly in the Purcell Mountains. Their proposal is to helicopter in 12 guests, once per week, during the winter months. Their helicopters are AStar machines, reportedly much smaller and quieter than the Bell 205’s and 212’s. These weekly trips would mean a couple of round trips maximum to bring the existing guests out and bring in the new guests and supplies. Morton calls his outfit a non-mechanized one because, although they use a helicopter to bring people in, it’s all just human power from the point of drop off. There are no snowcats or other motorized machinery at work. They use composting toilets, solar power, and take out everything they bring in.

The Lands Office accepted Morton’s proposal first (of the two coinciding “heli-ski” proposals) for review. It is important to note that NWME’s proposal is asking for tenure on just over 10,000 hectares, all based in the RDEK region. The Retallack proposal is asking for over 70,000 hectares.

Morton has already begun local partnerships with businesses, including Kokanee Springs who would host the launch pad for the helicopter and provide accommodation for the guests. That doesn’t mean that the guests would be required to stay there, or that they couldn’t come earlier and enjoy the region before going up to the ski lodge. A local resident man suggested that NWME even encourage guests to come earlier for that intent purpose. Morton was very receptive to the idea. Morton also stressed that their proposal has the end goal of being a non-mechanized, eco-tourism, sustainable, non-resource based one, including the lodge and out buildings.

Morton pointed out that this right to tenure does not give anyone exclusive use of the terrain, and he is very open to locals visiting the site and willing to work out deals with those who would like to experience it first-hand. They are asking for permission to build the cabin and then take folks skiing back there. The lodge location would be 44km northwest of Kimberly, 24km NE of Crawford Bay and 21km N of Riondel. Morton says the impact of the lodge and skiing outfit will be absolutely minimal to residents, but will bring 12-24 guests into the area throughout the winter, potentially making a nice little boost to the local economy. The proposal includes summer hiking and touring as well, but that is to be developed. The winter ski tours are the focus for now. There would also be jobs available with the lodge, including building, trades work, hut keeping and more. Morton also said he would feature the area and businesses on his website to encourage visits and continue to seek out local partnerships.

NWME’s proposal notes that the application respects the Purcell Conservancy, leaving a one kilometre buffer between the border of the Conservancy and their outlying border and the lodge itself is 7 km away from the line. They are also well away from the provincial park. “Environmental concerns are important with any development, and we take it very seriously,” said Morton. “We are given guidelines by the Ministry of Environment, and we stay well within them. The last thing we want to do is endanger or threaten wildlife.”

Regarding the coinciding, larger proposal and what might happen, it was expressed that both could be accepted, both could be rejected or either one could be accepted or rejected. It’s up to residents now to give feedback on what they want to see happen. NWME has given their informational meeting and you can read the full proposal and give feedback on it at the following address (feedback on this proposal is only taken until May 6 (Note: if you have difficulty with the link, save the pdf on your desktop and open it from there):

As for the other proposal, as of April 20, the rumour about the Wildsight meeting at the Gray Creek Hall on April 23 has been dispelled. The meeting WAS booked, but has been POSTPONED until hopefully May 2/3, but the date hasn’t yet been confirmed. Eddie Petryshen, Conservation Coordinator for Wildsight, says that they will likely be hosting that meeting and will “definitely let Retallack and the Lower Kootenay Band know when we have the public meeting as they have shown interest in attending.”


The full Retallack proposal can be read and responded to here (feedback until May 13):

Those who went to the NWME information meeting are strongly encouraging those who are interested in the other proposal to make sure that they attend the upcoming meeting.

Mainstreet will do what it can to get the word out and report on the other proposal.

Ski Touring Operation Information Meeting for North West Mountain Experience, Armour Mtn – Weds, April 18 at CB Hall (one of two proposals in now)

Image result for north west mountain experience

On Wednesday, April 18th at the Crawford Bay Hall at 7pm, Daniel Morton of North West Mountain Experience will be available to answer questions and give information about his proposal to start a non-mechanized back country ski touring operation on Armour Mountain behind Riondel and area.

Everyone welcome – go to his application to view the full proposal and give feedback until May 6.

Morton’s proposal covers about 10,000 hectares and is smaller than the Retallack proposal that went in at the same time. (There is reportedly a meeting for the other proposal on April 23 at the Gray Creek Hall at 8pm, yet to be confirmed.)

Back Country/Heli-Ski Proposals Affecting the East Shore

Over the past several days, two separate proposals for tenure and development of land in the Purcell Mountain region off of East Shore areas have come to the public’s attention and are piquing the interest of many residents. The two proposals came to the general public’s attention at roughly the same time, but have nothing to do with each other, except that they conflict with one another as far as land use/recreation concept goes.

Heli Ski 1

North West Mountain Experience (Daniel Morton ACMG ski guide) is applying for a commercial backcountry ski lodge (non-mechanized) at Armour Mountain, northeast of Rose Pass. The tenure area is relatively small (just over 10,000 hectares) and is in the upper St. Mary River just south of the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy. He put in a notice advertising the application and notifying of the public feedback period in the April Mainstreet. Watch for notice about a possible meeting held by Morton to answer questions in the coming days. His application can be found at the following (it is open for comments until May 6):

The other application (substantially bigger – over 70,000 hectares) has been put in by Retallack Lodge and covers a very large area, including much of the southern Purcell Mountains south of the wilderness conservancy, which isn’t already covered by existing tenures. The application includes a variety of guided adventure tourism activities such as heliskiing and helihiking and a lodge and huts. The Lower Kootenay Band of the Ktunaxa Nation has partnered with Retallack in this proposal. There has been rumour about a public meeting to be held, yet to be specified. (Possibly on April 23 at the Gray Creek Hall – watch for further details). There was no notice posted in the Mainstreet, although that may be coming.Their application can be found at the following (it is open for comments until May 13):

Please stay informed, come to the public meetings and voice your concerns and/or your support. Watch for further details coming soon!

Small Ferry for a Few More Days…

Submitted by Kootenay Lake Ferry Improvement Project Team

Persistent low water levels on Kootenay Lake require the use of MV Balfour for a few more days. MOTI and operators are actively monitoring water levels and aim to bring the larger capacity MV Osprey back into service as soon as possible. The refit of MV Osprey is complete on schedule and the vessel is ready to return to service when water levels are suitable.

While MV Balfour remains in service, we suggest you check Drive BC or the overhead signage in Creston and Nelson about potential sailing waits, arrive early for the ferry, allow time for a sailing wait, or if your schedule allows, consider off-peak crossing times or alternate routes.

We apologize for the inconvenience to ferry users.

Tipi Camp Silent Auction Tonight!

Tonight – April 7, from 5-8pm – Crawford Bay Hall

Come and support Tipi Camp’s 30th year by attending our Silent Auction! Greek food, Music by the Village Greek Band, 50/50 draw, Door prizes, and many amazing items and services to bid on, including Starbelly Jam and Shambhala passes, gift certificates and so much more!