Funds aims to protect recreation assets from wildfire

Mitigating future fires

In the midst of a devastating wildfire season, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC is announcing funding for 39 projects aimed at enhancing important recreational values.

Projects include wildfire mitigation projects at Big White, outside Peachland and in the South Okanagan.

“Earlier this spring, our team was reviewing the 269 projects FESBC has funded since inception, and we noted a number of the projects throughout the province had a secondary benefit to them – protecting and enhancing recreational values,” said Steve Kozuki, RPF, executive director FESBC.

“The primary purposes of FESBC projects range from mitigating wildfire risk and enhancing wildlife habitat to improving the recovery of wood fibre and replanting forests. At the same time, FESBC projects often deliver additional co-benefits such as climate change mitigation, job creation, Indigenous peoples’ participation in the forest economy, as well as protecting and enhancing forest recreation.”

The recreational values include campsites and hiking trails to ski resorts and heritage sites.

More than $97,000 has been granted to area First Nations for for wildfire fuel mitigation project next to the Silver Lake camp outside Peachland.

A $515,000 project will help protect Big White Ski Resort by creating "two landscape level fuel breaks within the proximity of the resort."

“When you live in a community where there’s only one road in and out, you can see the devastation a fire can have on a community, it’s nerve racking,” said Michael J. Ballingall, senior vice president of Big White Ski Resort Ltd.

“We are proud of the work that was done, the results, and the safety assurances it brings. This action speaks for itself. We feel protected.”

Similar projects have also been funded at Baldy Mountain Resort outside Oliver, the Agur Lake Camp outside Summerland, Red Mountain in Rossland and the Kelowna area. The full list an be read here.

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