The FMCBC Recreation and Conservation Committee is preparing a response to the Lands Branch regarding a proposed heli-ski tenure near Mount Waddington. In the past, the FMCBC has advocated for no helicopter access for day-use commercial or private backcountry recreation. In 2009, the FMCBC successfully negotiated a joint-use agreement with one such commercial heli-sports proponent, which kept Mt Waddington and surrounding terrain “non-motorized with restricted aerial access”. This unofficial designation or map notation from a previous LRMP has allowed for non-motorized recreation with limited aerial access to drop-off or pick-up people and their food and equipment for multi-day, non-motorized recreational trips. Although the proponent surrendered their tenure in 2012, we recently learnt that the Crown agency, which reviews and approves commercial recreation tenures, has maintained the land use notation because of the significance of the Mt. Waddington area and the potential to become a protected area. The Lands Branch is considering formalizing the “non-motorized with restricted aerial access” land use designation for the Mt. Waddington area and has invited the Federation of Mountain Clubs and other stakeholders to recommend boundaries for the non-motorized zones, pending potential creation of protected areas.

The idea of a park in the Waddington area has been suggested for many decades by the outdoor community. In 1989, the Alpine Club Vancouver Section submitted a proposal to the then Ministry of Forests requesting that a Wilderness Area be designated. No action was taken at that time and during the Protected Area Strategy process in the late 1990s, Mount Waddington was not included since environmental groups were more interested in protecting old growth in the valleys.

There is still no national park within our Coast Range. With Canada considering increasing protected areas to 25% by 2025 and 30% by 2030 from a current 12.1%, these wilderness areas would be prime candidates as national parks.

John Baldwin, an honourary member of the Alpine Club (and past member of the VOC) has prepared a proposal for a park in the Waddington area and the Homathko Icefield. We encourage everyone to review John Baldwin’s proposal and to support this initiative.  

The Committee believes it is time to formalize the “non-motorized with restricted aerial access” land use designation for the Mt. Waddington area, as well as for the Homathko Icefield, to preserve these remote and heavily glaciated landscapes from development and commercial day-use recreation and to allow for future consideration as protected areas. Subject to any further input about the proposed boundaries and the park proposals, the FMCBC will be submitting recommendations to BC Lands that are consistent with the boundaries for the non-motorized land use designations  and protected areas as outlined by John Baldwin.  If you want to see the detailed maps we can send you the Google Earth KML files.

We invite feedback on the proposed boundaries and the efforts to create a park in the Waddington area and in the Homathko Icefield.

FMCBC Contacts:

Monika Bittel
Jay MacArthur