Application for recreation tenure has city staff concerned about impact on Greeley Creek Watershed

City supports the development of winter recreation in the Revelstoke area, but is concerned about the impact the proposed development could have on the Greeley Creek community watershed.

File photo: Backcountry skiing in Rogers Pass. Photo: Nick Khattar

Revelstoke city staff are concerned about the impact an application for a 4,044 hectare commercial recreation tenure could have on the Greeley Creek watershed.

Staff are seeking approval from city council to submit a letter of concern to Front Counter BC, regarding the application made by Revelstoke Backcountry Guides’.

The Greeley Creek watershed is designated as a community watershed under the Water Act. It is the city’s primary water supply.

“Parts of the watershed are already licensed for alpine ski, cat-ski and heli-ski tenures, however, as of the writing of the Water Source Protection Plan in 2013, no infrastructure was located within the watershed, and there has been no glading or avalanche control management,” Mike Thomas, director of engineering and development, wrote in a report to council. “Based on internal mapping, it appears that part of the tenure and the backcountry hut for 10 guests and five staff, “Intensive Site A” is located within the Greeley Creek Watershed, with text in the application indicating risk of impacts to the city’s water supply.”

The report notes the application for tenure would provide short-term backcountry skiing with helicopter access and either ski out or helicopter out. Initially, the tenure would include day trips, followed by multi-day trips with a hut. The trips will be guided and there will be no access for self-guided groups.

The first phase of the project would see skiers dropped off by helicopter with a ski out at the end of the day. Thomas said in his report that ski out has been indicated to be via Greeley Creek or West Twin Creek, which is north of Greeley.

“Without access to the mapping files, it is challenging to determine where the 40 square kilometre tenured ski ‘extensive use’ area is in relation to the watershed, but appears to include Greeley Creek as Intensive Site A is clearly within the watershed based on the coordinates provided in the application,” said Thomas.

The report recommends the City of Revelstoke respond to the application with a number of comments outlining the city’s concerns and reasons it cannot support the application for tenure.  A copy of the report to council, including comments, can be viewed here.

“It is hoped that this response will ensure that protection of the Greeley Watershed is a priority in the review of this tenure application. Staff will provide an update to council if further information is provided by the applicant or the province,” said Thomas.

What do you think? Do you support a recreation tenure within the Greeley Creek Watershed? Share your thoughts in the comments section.