A heli-ski operator is calling on British Columbia to enact controls over backcountry snowmobilers, saying the large number of deaths this season has hurt the province’s reputation as a safe outdoor recreation destination.
“It’s not a good image when, in the backcountry, so many people die,” said Mike Wiegele of Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing in the North Thompson Valley.
Nineteen snowmobilers – all of them in B.C. – have died in avalanches in Canada this season, according to Avalanch.org. In several of the snowmobile-related incidents, slides were triggered as a result of highmarking as riders push their machines as far up a steep slope as possible.
Wiegele said his company has been called to help out in four rescue operations this winter, putting strain on the business, which attracts about 1,500 mainly international skiers each year.
“The problem is that snowmobilers can go anywhere, any time, any day, any place,” Wiegele said.
By contrast, he said, heli-ski operators and other backcountry professionals are heavily regulated.
Anglers tapped for ideas
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is accepting proposals for fishing-rule changes through June 1.
The agency will summarize proposals for public review in early September.
The Fish and Wildlife Commission will adopt a new rules package in November.
Proposal forms: call (360) 902-2700 or http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/ regs/rule_proposals.
Add these tours to schedule
Our recent feature on bike touring events left out a few notables set in September:
Great NW Fall Tour, Sept. 6, out of Newport; gnwft.homestead.com.
Kootenai River Ride, Sept. 12 out of Bonners Ferry; www.ruralnorthwest. com/rotary.
High Pass Challenge, Sept. 13, in North Cascades (for trained cyclists); www.cascade.org .
Notably missing: The Tour of Pain 200-miler will not be scheduled this year, according to spokesmen at Coeur d’Alene Brewery.
Upcoming: Bike to Work Week, May 10-15. Sign up for free T-shirts, food, parties; www.biketoworkspokane.org .
Check out outdoor events in our Recreation Calendar, spokesman.com/outdoors.
Event celebrates Latah Trail
A group bike tour is set for Saturday to celebrate completion of the 11-mile paved rail trail between Moscow and Troy, Mont.
Start 10 a.m. in Moscow with a noon BBQ in Troy. Bike back or shuttle.
“We’ve been working on this since 1998,” said Nora Locken of the Latah Trail Foundation.
The trail links with the City of Moscow’s Paradise Paths and then with the paved trail to Pullman for a total of 22 motor-free miles.
Info and map: www.latahtrailfoundation.org