UPDATED: Ski-touring application for Kokanee Glacier Park area denied

Nelson resident had hoped to use land near the park for non-mechanized back-country skiing.

A tenure application for land near Kootenay Glacier Provincial Park

Yet another attempt to secure land at Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park for commercial use has failed.

An tenure application by Nelson resident Lee Johnston to establish a non-mechanized back-country skiing and yurt site was denied Thursday by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Johnston, who submitted his papers in November for the site under the company name Alpine Basin Ski-touring, had hoped to use land just south of the park with occasional use of a mountain within the park.

Sharon Dailey, the ministry’s section head for land authorizations in the Kootenay Boundary region, cited three reasons for her decision.

  • Johnston’s request overlapped an area currently being considered for use by Recreation Sites and Trails.
  • The application didn’t comply with the Regional District of Central Kootenay’s Official Community Plan, which suggests Dailey didn’t believe Johnston had sufficient community support.
  • Johnston’s application also failed to comply with the Interior Health Authority’s Acts and Regulations for drinking water and sewage disposal.

“The public comments, the Lands Branch and Recreation Sites and Trails have indicated there is increasing difficulty in being able to resolve land use conflicts between tenure holders and the public,” wrote Dailey.

Johnston said he wasn’t surprised by the ministry’s decision and thought his application was an uphill battle from the start.

“Obviously I’m a little bit disappointed I can’t follow through with that dream,” said Johnston. “However my main intent still remains the same. I’d like to see the area become accessible for non-mechanized recreation and [I’ll] try to pursue that in terms of working with local outdoors clubs to increase that potential.”

The decision also mistakenly refers to Johnston’s company by the name of Kootenay Heli-Ski Inc., which had filed a previous tenure application to operate daily heli-ski tours in the same area. That application was denied by the ministry in November after vocal public opposition to the plan.

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