By Andrea Arnold

Downhill ski enthusiasts in McBride may be looking at a shorter commute to a hill if the proposal for a snowmobile assisted ski hill on Lucille Mountain goes ahead.

The area below the arrow is the portion of Lucille mountain that would be used for the snowmobile assisted ski area if the request for exemption from visual quality objectives is granted. /ANDREA ARNOLD

At the Council meeting on March 23, 2021, Jeff McNaughton, Operations and Field Manager from the McBride Community Forest Corporation, presented an idea for such an attraction using land that is already slated for logging.

“MCFC supports recreational activities around town,” said McNaughton. “This is an affordable way to give a new group in town another recreation activity.”

The idea is in the beginning stages, and MCFC is going through steps needed to allow this to proceed past the initial idea and basic planning phase. Getting support from Village Council was the first. They also need to show that there is public support for the project.

MCFC plans to log a section of Lucille mountain this coming summer. The idea is to apply for an exemption from current “visual quality objective” requirements, resulting in some of the cleared land not being planted for regrowth, leaving clear ski trails for years to come. The current expectation is that when a person looks from below, they can only see 7.8% bare after a logging operation has been completed. The ski hill proposal would require that 20% be bare in some spots and 50% in others.

“We are not leaving a clear cut,” said MCFC Manager Ray Theissen.

In order to proceed, MCFC needs to apply to the Province for the exemption. The letter of support from Council is one way they can show the support of the community.

“As the plan is to log the area already, and the current groomed trail will provide access, it is not an expensive proposition,” said Theissen.

Logistics, legalities and details will be discussed if this first step is successful, he said. There is a crew ready to spring into action if the exemption is granted.

By getting support from Council, MCFC secured one part of the support portion. Anyone interested in voicing their support for the project can submit a letter to MCFC, PO Box 370, McBride BC, V0J 2E0.