If you are hoping to snowmobile or ski in the Starr Basin Recreation Area of the Telkwa Mountain Range this winter, it is time to get your application in.
Motorized access to the area will once again be determined by lottery for the second year in a row following closure of Telkwa Range recreation areas in July 2018 to protect the vulnerable Telkwa caribou herd.
Starr Basin will be open for 21 days in seven three-day blocks for permitted snowmobilers and 21 days in three seven-day blocks for backcountry skiers conditional on recent caribou activity. The application period is Oct. 20 to Nov. 20.
Two-part permits will be issued by a random number generator and recipients will be notified Dec. 1. The first part of permits will be issued Dec. 17, with the second part to follow 48 hours prior to the allotted block period. However, if caribou activity has been recorded in the area, the second part will not be issued and the first part becomes invalid.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) developed the lottery as a compromise after initially closely the area entirely to motorized access.
“The permitting system was created to allow for equal opportunity, high-quality recreation, while ensuring there is no disturbance to caribou within the Telkwa Range,” states the application process instructions document. “The structure of the permitting system is reflective of the need to 1) give equal opportunity to anyone wishing to apply (private and/or club members), and 2) allow for caribou activity to be assessed within the 48-hour window of access by the issued permit.”
Blocks for snowmobiles run Dec. 30 to Jan. 1; Jan. 2 to 4; Jan. 29 to 31; Feb. 5 to 7; Feb. 26 to 28; March 26 to 28; and April 9 to 11. The three weeks designated for skiers are: De. 23 to 29; Feb. 19 to 25; and March 19 to 25.
Each permit is good for one primary permit holder, one secondary and four additional riders. An individual may only be a secondary holder on two permits.
Two other areas of the range will also be open to motorized access. The season for the Grizzly Plateau runs Nov. 1 to April 30 and the Meat Cache is open Dec. 14 to April 1.
Starr Basin permit applications are available on the FNLRORD website and from the Front Counter BC office in Smithers.