The moratorium on recent commercial recreation developments on Mt. Begbie is the first step towards new land use plans for Revelstoke, said a local conservation organization.
“We’re super excited people got together on this,” said Sarah Newton, spokesperson for the North Columbia Environmental Society (NCES).
Last summer a local petition garnered over 1,300 signatures after the provincial government previously denied protecting the mountain.
In December the province reversed its decision and granted a section 17 order under the B.C. Land Act for almost 6,000 hectares of land, preventing any new commercial recreation applications on Mt. Begbie until Dec. 13, 2025.
Newton said the new moratorium is a result of the community’s unity and desire to show ownership of the local natural environment.
“It’s an example of what can be accomplished.”
|A sunset view of Mt. Begbie by Adam Whittingham. (Photo via Instagram @adam_captures)|
While the section 17 designation is a welcomed first step, Newton said it’s not perfect and will hopefully lead to new land-use plans for Revelstoke. The NCES had previously tried to get Mt. Begbie turned into a protected park.
Although the province has paused new commercial recreation developments on Mt. Begbie, applications for industrial activities such as logging and mining have not been halted.
There are several planned logging cuts by BC Timber Sales below the mountain, according to the conservation group Wilderness Committee.
The province confirmed to Black Press small logging projects are planned on the lower reaches of the mountain in the near future.
First Energy Metals Limited, a company based in Vancouver, also has mineral rights on Mt. Begbie.
Nick Holmes-Smith, who lives in Chase and owns Mustang Lodge near Revelstoke was one of the main proponents behind the hut and chalet project on Mt. Begbie.
In reaction to the moratorium, he said in a statement to Black Press, “the proposed Begbie lodge project would have greatly enhanced the ability of both locals and tourists to enjoy Mt. Begbie for both winter ski touring and summer hiking. We are undecided whether or not to pursue this lodge proposal in the future.”
The provincial government said the moratorium should give Revelstoke an opportunity to organize and lead a new land use management plan for the area.
The ministry of forests is expected to meet with Mayor Gary Sulz this month.
“This is a good indication that the provincial government is hearing us,” said Sulz.
Last year, the NCES said the environment around Revelstoke suffers due to the outdated plan and increasing use of recreation.
The Alpine Club of Canada took over stewardship of the Mt. Begbie trail and campground in 2020.
Ben Wilkey, spokesperson for the ACC, said the upgrades should be finished this year, including new tent pads, bear storage lockers and outhouses.