Houston Snowmobile Club (File photo)

A roof over their sleds

RD approves snowmobiler cabin plans

  • Oct. 19, 2022 1:30 a.m.

Snowmobilers now have some certainty over their heads when they venture into the backcountry west of Burns Lake and south of Houston.

The two towns’ snowmobile clubs really wanted a cabin in the Sibola area for shelter and safety. One was already there, in fact, and also included an outhouse and woodshed. It had informally been used for years. The clubs jointly applied to the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako (RDBN) for an occupancy permit so they could formalize their use of it, and ensure they could maintain it into the future.

On Oct. 13 the RDBN directors were publicly presented with a report on the matter from Planning Technician Cameron Kral.

“The buildings were constructed over 30 years ago,” said Kral. “There are currently no proposed plans for further development. The structures are used for overnight and emergency use for those recreating in the area. The site is primarily accessed by snowmobile and experiences approximately 30 riders per week in the winter. The site also experiences some limited use in the summer not associated with the clubs.”

The site is a land parcel slightly less than an acre. It is located approximately 16 km west of the Tahtsa Forest Service Road, in the valley east of Mount Ney and west of Sibola Peak.

“There is an existing trail/road system that is used to ride from the parking lot to the cabin on snowmobiles and explore the alpine of the Sibolas/Rhine Ridge range,” said the snowmobile clubs in a written statement for the Regional District directors. “It is also used in the summer months by other recreational vehicles. The Houston Snowmobile Club maintains the cabin in conjunction with the Burns Lake Snowmobile club and attracts riders from all over the area because of the exceptional views and terrain.”

There are no plans to upgrade the structures at the site, but having a formal occupancy license would provide certainty for the snowmobile clubs as they set their future goals.

“There is no fee to use the cabin, all supplies and upgrades are done with either club or personal funds by volunteers,” said the clubs’ statement. “We are looking to obtain this license as the clubs continue to grow and offer the ability for this sport to continue in our area.”

The regional district directors agreed and voted in favour of the occupancy license. It adds to the network of assets the clubs already put their volunteer work into, like the Rhine Ridge Cabin and the Nellian Lake gazebo and warming hut.

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