Cell Phones Partially to Blame for Steady Rise in BC Rescues
The British Columbia Search and Rescue Association released a graph this week that, despite more efforts made at education, shows a steady rise in the number of BC rescues required year to year.
The graph goes back to the early 1990’s when there were between 400 and 600 SAR volunteer deployments in B.C. The number rose to around 700 per year by end of the century.
Since then, the number of rescues required in the B.C. backcountry has reached more than 1,600.
AdventureSmart Provincial Coordinator Sandra Riches admits it’s disappointing.
“It’s somewhat surprising and frustrating,” she says. “We’ve been educating British Columbians for up to 14 years. I know we are making a difference but I would love to see a decrease in those numbers.”
Riches says a growing population and easier access to the backcountry have contributed to the increase, but says our love affair with our cell phones is getting more and more people in trouble.
“They definitely are getting way too reliant on those phones,” she says. “Most of us can’t live without them. People are now relying on them as their communication device, their navigation device and their light source.”
Globe & Mail: Family in High Places
Aug. 7, 2017 – A little fitness, a good pair of boots and a sense of adventure are all you need to hike British Columbia’s mammoth Selkirk Mountains, David Ebner writes. Or are they? An off-trail excursion with his mother puts that thinking to the test.
The mountain slope is steep. If we were skiing, this would be a double black diamond, an ideal challenge on a descent buried in snow, as it is through the long winter. Instead, the month is August and we are hiking, the sun high in the mid-afternoon on a beautiful day, the Selkirk Mountains all around us. The Durrand Glacier backcountry chalet, where we set out from, is in the distance.
Emergency Resources for BC’s Tourism Industry
July 11, 2017 – As you know, there are some areas of the province currently dealing with wildfires, impacting visitors and businesses, and potentially influencing those who may be planning a trip to our province.
Stay Safe, Stay Informed. During times of stress and uncertainty, it is important to share information from official sources only. There are a variety of resources available to help you prepare for emergencies, gather up-to-date information and help visitors plan their travel.
Planning a Campfire this Canada Day?
June 29, 2017 – Campfires and Canada Day are a go. The BC Wildfire Service announced this week that a partial campfire ban will go into effect in parts of the Cariboo region on June 29, but outside of that corner of the province, it’s game on for the time being.
The service noted that wildfire danger ratings are climbing across B.C. and is reminding those tooling off into the backcountry to take precautions if they intend to burn.
- Campfires must not be larger than 0.5 metres high or 0.5 metres wide.
- Never light a campfire or keep it burning in windy conditions.
- Ensure any fire is built around a “fireguard,” a fuel-free area where all flammable materials are removed right down to the soil.
- Never leave a campfire unattended.
- Have a shovel or at least eight litres of water available to properly extinguish your campfire.
- Make sure that the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.
Anyone who lights a campfire is legally responsible for making sure it doesn’t escape and can face penalties ranging between $1,150 and $10,000. If convicted in court, a guilty party can be fined up to $100,000 or be sentenced to one year in jail.
BLBCA Holds Annual General Meeting
June 9, 2017 – The BLBCA held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) this past week on June 7th – 8th, in Kamloops, BC. Members of the Association gathered for two days packed with industry-related information, updates from both the staff and BOD.
The Association welcomed a number of distinguished guest presenters to the AGM. Some BLBCA members also presented and sharing their thoughts on a number of key and current industry issues.
There’s always time for a little fun, with the first day concluding with outdoor activities for attendees, including a local mountain bike ride to the Kamloops Bike Ranch and a hike through Peterson Creek.
These activities were followed by dinner, where attendees could chat openly and discuss key industry info & learnings amongst themselves and with many of the presenters.
The BLBCA is always exploring options to further expand the AGM. To discuss opportunities further or for all general inquiries on the BLBCA’s Annual General Meeting, please refer to the contacts at the bottom of this page.
2017 Bike to Work & School Week
Bike to Work Week started 23 years ago in Victoria! From humble beginnings it has grown to include more than 52 communities and 37,000 participants BC-wide in 2016 and it continues to grow.
Bike to School Week is a free and fun week-long celebration of biking to school taking place May 29 – June 2, 2017. Bike to School Week is a chance for Schools throughout BC to encourage and celebrate students and their families cycling to school. There are several ways in which you can get involved.
Celebrate Tourism Week
BC’s tourism industry experienced record setting numbers last year, and the trend is continuing as businesses and destinations across BC have already enjoyed a busy first quarter and are anticipating more record results this summer. Operators and communities around BC are sharing their Tourism Week celebrations on social media using the hashtag #BCTourismMatters.
Celebrating CAA Contributions
May 10, 2017 – The Canadian Avalanche Association recently honoured Service Award Recipients and a nominee for Honorary Membership at their Spring Meetings and AGM 2017, held in Penticton from May 1-5, 2017.
BLBCA Executive Director, Brad Harrison received a 2017 Service Award for his dedication to InfoEx subscribers and leadership of the InfoEx Advisory Group.
Each year, the CAA honours members who have made a significant contribution to avalanche safety in Canada. Service Awards and Honorary Membership are ways to celebrate these contributions.
Scott Flavelle also received a Service Award during the event, while Mike Boissonneault was nominated for Honorary Membership.
Tourism Matters on Election Day
May 2, 2017 – BLBCA members believe that it is important that citizens exercise their democratic right to vote. Provincial elections offer residents a chance to participate in the process of selecting your local government.
Please use your voice to help inform all candidates on the importance of adventure tourism to our economy and your lifestyle. Every vote counts!
The latest BLBCA newsletter provides voting information, links to the candidates, and key info from BC’s tourism industry.
Read All About It – BLBCA Spring Newsletter
April 18, 2017 – Fresh off the presses, it’s the latest edition of our BLBCA Newsletter – Spring, 2017!
Hear from a lodge owner on the unique opportunities at backcountry lodges, 4 ways to experience summer at the BLBCA, learn about the DBC’s partnership with Google, and much more!
Not receiving our newsletters? Sign-up today and ensure you don’t miss the next edition!
Or access our archives to catch-up on any news you missed from past issues.
DBC and Google Team Up in BC Wilderness Project
Through the partnership, imagery from BC’s wilderness has now been added to Google Maps. The scenery is complemented with interviews with BC locals, photography, drone footage, immersive 360° video, and featured businesses on the new BC Journeys platform.
The project began in 2016, when Destination BC and their partners were loaned two Google Street View Trekkers—a wearable backpack outfitted with 15 separate cameras that collect 360° panoramic imagery in remote outdoor locations inaccessible by car.
Over 105 days, the Google Street View Trekker traversed 983 kilometres on almost 200 treks, travelling by foot, horse, boat, floatplane, and helicopter.
Alongside Google, Destination BC sent a crew of expert content creators across the province to capture the stories and culture of British Columbians in those special places.
4 Ways to Experience BC’s Backcountry Lodges in Summer
That doesn’t mean BC’s backcountry lodges should be forgotten. There are plenty of other ways to experience these alpine retreats in summer.
Mountain bike from your doorstep, standup paddleboard on alpine lakes, take a hike and stretch it out, or sneak in one more ski trip.
Learn more about BC’s backcountry lodges and find the alpine retreat that offers your favourite summer and winter activities.
Minister Bond Announces New Funding Model for Destination BC
March 5, 2017 – During an already successful conference the Honourable Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism & Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, added to the good news announcing the creation of a stable funding formula so Destination BC can continue its work of growing British Columbia’s tourism industry. Minister Bond spoke about how tourism is a key sector in the government’s BC Jobs Plan and an important economic driver in the province. During her keynote address Minister Bond highlighted how the $98 million annual investment from the province helps the sector create jobs in every region of the province. She also praised the efforts of Destination BC, TIABC, the team at Vancouver International Airport, and all tourism operators who contribute to our global reputation.
“You are a key reason why we’re experiencing such positive tourism growth,” Minister Bond told the crowd. “You’re providing the world-class tourism experience that visitors are looking for and putting BC at the top of the list for travellers from around the world.”
New funding model
Minister Bond also provided highlights of Destination BC’s new funding model, including:
- First, the funding model will protect DBC’s annual base funding of $50 million
- Second, it will be tied to both the broader tourism sector’s success and DBC’s performance – allowing for increases of up to 2% per year
- Third, funding increases will be cumulative, meaning that DBC’s budget can build year-over-year
- This means that there is an opportunity over the next six years for DBC’s annual base budget to increase by $5 million over what it is today
Every increase will be a permanent addition to Destination BC’s base budget going forward, said Minister Bond. “This is really positive news.”
Heat-Seeking Drone Search a First in BC
Seven missing skiers and snowboarders were rescued by search crews in BC’s Interior after a long night out in the elements near Kamloops.
Crew members say the incident was entirely avoidable.
The last two missing skiers were located just after 4 a.m. but not before spending the night in frigid temperatures and waist deep snow in the backcountry.