FORR making progress in Management Plan for Rec Site

Les Carter
By Les Carter
May 12th, 2014

After a lengthy community process led by the Friends of the Rossland Range, last August the Ministry of Forests Recreation Sites and Trails Branch provisionally approved the creation of a public Recreation Site which includes the high country of the Rossland Range between Red Mountain Resorts and the tenure held by Big Red Cats.
Final approval of the Recreation Site is conditional on the creation of a management plan for the Site by November of this year.
Building on public workshops in October and December of last year, concerned members of the community formed a working group to create a management plan.  The working group currently has approximately 24 members.
The working group expects the creation of the final plan to be a “rolling” process in which successive drafts are produced and refined with input from the community and the Ministry, hopefully concluding with a document that reflects the collective wisdom of all those involved.
So far, the working group has discussed what the general framework of the plan should look like, and has formed teams to consider key issues.  Three major areas at this time are: a plan for the future of the public shelters inside the Recreation Site, consideration of access concerns, and a mapping initiative to make it easier to navigate the information needed for the plan.
The shelters team is building a matrix of criteria for assessing how effective a shelter might be in a particular area.  The matrix will help answer questions like, “What are the purposes of a shelter on this site?  How heavily will it be used?  What kinds of recreational users will be attracted?  How might use of the shelter evolve over time?  What management issues might a shelter on this site have?”  The intended outcome is to back the inclusion of a particular shelter in the plan with strong, easily-understood justification and guidance.
The shelters team is also discussing the shelters with the people who look after the existing structures, and with the District Recreation Officer, seeking creative ideas on the various issues faced in planning for the shelters.
The access team has been active on two fronts:  The team is considering the questions that need to be addressed in the plan, such as “What kind of access is needed?  Where?  Who should be involved, and how do we work with those stakeholders?”   At the same time, the team is looking at sites for “hands-on” pilot projects for creating better access.
The working group, through the Friends of the Rossland Range, recently applied for funding from the Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives program to pay a Geographical Information Systems mapping expert, so that we can develop a high quality digital map for the Rec. Site.  We are awaiting the final result of our application, but expect that the mapping project will go ahead.
A good plan needs to speak with one voice; someone has to bring all the pieces together into a document that is organized and clear.  The working group has been fortunate to have Andrew Zwicker join us and take on the role of lead author.  He is currently hard at work writing a draft framework for the plan, in which the more specific pieces will find homes.  (Rachel Selkirk is assisting Andrew in this major task.)
When the working group has produced a first draft of the management plan, we will provide opportunities for comments from everyone concerned.  We will make every effort to bring the draft to the public as soon as possible.  Watch for it!
The working group is open to anyone with an interest in contributing to the creation of the Recreation Site management plan.  Members can volunteer for active roles such as contributing ideas, discussions with stakeholders, or assembling information, or they can simply watch and comment.  If you would like to be part of the working group, please contact Les Carter, 250-362-5677, retrac01@telus.net.

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