Roundtable 3: Wildlife & Natural Resources
Alexa - Crowsnest Pass; Carlos - Mount Crested Butte; Shawna Kelsey - Yaak Valley Forest Council; Jen Stelfox - Y2Y; Christine Colbert- Journalist (freelance and speaker); Jan Fankstad (?)- Columbia Shushwap Regional District; Tyler Sinclair - Jackson Wyoming; Jessie Fletcher - District of Squamish; Joshua Welsh - Planner for Town of Canmore; Jen - Three Sisters Mountain Village; Mike - Park County Montana; Patrick - City of Fernie; Laurie - Town of Canmore; Todd - Town of Mount Crested Butte; Ruth Midgley - Y2Y
Issues for Discussion - Initial go-around
- How to manage values of the town/community
- Managing for recreation, tourism, development, environment, etc.
- How to manage garbage (legislatively)
- How to start planning from the beginning
- How to plan for wildlife corridors while building thoughtful tourism industry and agriculture
- Managing OHV use and how to redirect to more appropriate areas
- Managing front country recreation
- How to manage complexes - different types of recreation - all seasons at all times
- Off-leash dogs
- Wildlife attractants (i.e. to manage habituated deer)
- Why do humans make the choices they do? How to make things resonate
- Timber harvesting and communities
- Full environmental analysis vs. small projects without analysis - what defines this - what is this threshold
- Canmore - coming close to full buildout of developable land - how do we go about redevelopment to sustain certain resources
- Cumulative impacts from forestry and recreation on crown land
Issue: Recreation Management (front country, motorized access, backcountry) and Human Behaviour
- Use increasing in Montana ( and possibly other places); impact compared to hiking, snowshoeing, other quiet winter recreation is currently unknown.
- Large headlamps are used at night - does this have more of an impact on wildlife and their movement patterns?
- Hilary: analysis of reduction in habitat security is being studied (users at all times of day all year on trails) - animal behaviour patterns are changing to accommodate
- Ebikes are also expanding access - are these considered to be motorized or non-motorized vehicles?
- How do these fit with trail restrictions?
- Rec sites and trails BC has written about this - unless a trail is designated as not for ebikes they are allowed
24 hour events (biking, running, etc)
- Where are these appropriate?
- Town of Canmore hosts these at Nordic Centre (outside of TOC jurisdiction)
- Human Wildlife Conflict specialist to be hired before event and to be present during - possible solution - to survey area (look for kills, berry season, etc.). Mitigate before it’s a problem (check for bearspray, keep food to campsite, etc.)
- Seasonal closures for certain events - i.e. berry season (choose when these events occur so they don’t correspond, or keep areas as total no-go for certain months/time)
- Rerouting events as necessary (to avoid kill sites, berry patches, etc.)
- Limit heli-activities in pristine areas
- Access management piece needs to be provincial and regulated
- Need teeth - ability enforce
- Collaboration w/ forest service, COs, etc.
- Partnerships for education (search and rescue, brew pubs) to make not following the rules “uncool” - peer pressure and shaming (for the good - positive peer pressure)
- Easily created and becoming a problem
- Trail braiding - common, however, there is social pressure to stay on trail in certain areas
- Social media (i.e. trailforks) helps to establish these social trails as the norm
- Geotagging is also a problem - encourage social media users to be unspecific
- “No access” signs for these trails, postcard drop, and other methods to try to educate on the areas (i.e. corridors, wildland parks) and discourage new or undesignated trail use (link to human behaviour - how do we make this stick)
- There is a strong “it’s just me” - attitude
- Boulder, Colorado: Conflict - want people in nature; municipality shut down social trails and created one designated pathway in similar area to encourage people to use that one (make it appealing - users need to want to use it)
- Following closure - increase has been found in Castle area just outside park. New designation has displaced users and encouraged them to make new trails just outside the park - almost pushing to new jurisdiction “not my problem anymore”
- A place for displaced users (i.e. motorists) needs to be developed sustainably - they aren’t going away
- What groups within groups do we/can we partner with to make these changes sustainable - finding champions (climbers, OHV, biking, etc)
- Usage permits - Money to be used for trail maintenance, bridges, etc.
- This idea wasn’t well received in Castle area
- Takes time for social change to become the norm - the pushback will always happen
- It’s a starting point, need to keep pushing until you reach the tipping point
- Sometimes it’s the key champions - a couple well respected key individuals
- It’s systemic - any way for incentivization or find common ground and build from there
- Fishing and hunting perspective - multi-group individuals to encourage other users
- There are good groups that are land stewards and work sustainably - we have to find them and partner with them
- Language is very dichotomizing - this is problematic
- Gunnison has a paid, mountain bike “Conservation crew” - that champion trail maintenance and stewardship of the land to encourage positive goodwill and education (w/ forest service)
- Keep messaging friendly, maintain statistics, log what they (user groups) do, take photos to share
- Rec groups can recognize their responsibility to be ambassadors and educate
- Could be challenges if town funding is on trails outside of municipal boundaries
- What about people upset about tax not going to COs for in town boundaries
- So far not an issue (in Gunnison) - people appreciate the work
- Depends on allocation - if it’s federal and there is no capacity, this is welcomed
- With cuts to funding, responsibility falls more and more to the user groups
- Equestrian use - either the hardest or easiest to work with (not much in between)
- Trail alliance model works well
- Reps from user groups, health authorities, multi-levels of government, i.e. broad representation
- Working groups to tackle issues like trial conflicts, management planning, maintenance, 24 hour races, etc.
- Planning a network to work for broad public and users
- Wildlife separate issue - but could be addressed (this group is first step)
- Common ground: all like to be outside on trails
- “This is my right to recreate” - how to address this?
- Options - ways to recreate that is easier, less impactful, alternative areas, etc
- Destination or tourism planning for recreation - disconnect between planning, tourism, and wildlife groups
- Awareness of area and ideas at tourism centres and shops
- Responsibility to locals and local businesses
- Anywhere with services - include messaging
- Especially guiding services - opportunity to educate while they are a captive audience
- Where are people getting information and inspiration? Start from the source
- Cognitive dissonance - just because you love the outdoors doesn’t make you a steward of the outdoors