21 Mile Creek Watershed Snowmobiling

stock snowmobile shotThe Rainbow Mountain Wildland Area, including 21 Mile Creek, is designated a non-motorized recreation area in the Sea-to-Sky LRMP.  Ski and snowshoe access to the area is usually via the Hanging Lake route from Callaghan Valley or the 21 Mile Creek trail.

Despite the non-motorized designation, there are still many snowmobilers recreating in the area.  The FMCBC sent a letter to the BC government in October 2009, asking to close the 21 Mile Creek area near Whistler to snowmobiles. The area includes Rainbow Lake and is part of Whistler’s watershed. It has been zoned for non-motorized winter recreation, but in winter increasing numbers of snowmobilers access the watershed from the Callaghan Valley side.

As part of the effort to inform and educate snowmobilers about the non-motorized area, in the fall of 2010 signs were erected by the provincial government, in partnership with the FMCBC and the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW), at the 3 main road access points to Twentyone Mile Creek along the East Callaghan Forest Service Road (the typical snowmobile access route into the area).  The signs included a map of the Rainbow Mountain Wildland Area and a notice that snowmobiling is prohibited in 21 Mile Creek, Rainbow Lake, Gin and Tonic Lakes, north side of Mt. Sproatt and Rainbow Mountain.

In September, 2011 the FMCBC sent another letter asking the BC government and the RMOW to close the south end of Callaghan FSR to prevent snowmobile access to the area.

In January, 2012 the FMCBC sent another letter to RMOW Mayor and Counil requesting the issue of snowmobiles in the area be resolved.

In July, 2013 The FMCBC sent a letter to the BC Government asking that the area be legally closed to snowmobiling under a section 58 or the Forest and Range Practices Act.

Members are encouraged to make trips into the Rainbow Mountain Wildland Area and to document any ongoing use by snowmobilers of the area, including any conflicts with them or safety issues, as well as voluntary compliance (i.e.,. if there are no snowmobilers present or snowmobilers leave the area when informed about the designation).  Please submit photos and reports to the Snowmobile Zoning Infraction Database, which is accessed via “Campaigns” on www.bivouac.com or submit your reports and photos directly to us by email.

Negotiations with government over legal implementation and enforcement of the non-motorized zone are ongoing.