The Village of Valemount developed the Snow Host Team as a part of the Caribou and Wildlife Education program that was created to address these concerns. The Host Team is responsible for on-mountain education relating to the endangered Mountain Caribou and sustainable backcountry recreation. They act as a part of the program to provide education strategies and enforcement, to ensure that the area remains a world class backcountry recreation destination, while protecting wildlife. In 2009, Northern Development provided funding support through delivery of the Government of Canada's Community Adjustment Fund to the Valemount and Area Recreation Development Association, to expand the Mountain Host program.
2012-Nestled into a valley created by awe-inspiring mountains, the Village of Valemount has earned its reputation as a year-round playground for travelers to British Columbia. Three mountain ranges, the Cariboo, the Monashee, and the Rocky Mountains, surround the village and offer hundreds of exciting and inspiring activities. These ranges make Valemount known throughout North America as a top quality destination for mountain snowmobiling and wilderness backcountry adventure experiences. Snowmobiling has grown exponentially in the area with over 12,000 visitors passing through the managed snowmobile areas in one season. Over the past several years, there has been significant concern expressed about the growth of the sport in the area due to its close vicinity to the habitat of the endangered Mountain Caribou.
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"Our new host program has been integral to the success of the recreational snowmobiling industry in the Valemount Area. The strength of the local economy is directly linked to our areas winter recreation. Northern Development has helped make the project a reality by providing valuable funding to assist the total cost of implementation."Chris Pawliuk, General Manager, Valemount Area Recreation Development Association
Positive Economic Impacts in Valemount
Several years ago the local sawmill in the area was closed, leaving half of the town unemployed. Adventure and backcountry tourism has become a vital contributor to the economy in Valemount. Compliance to the area restrictions is essential to the future recreational tourism industry in Valemount. Of all forms of education, the host program was the most successful at generating visitor knowledge and compliance. Non-compliance increases the chances of losing the recreational riding area which is the main economic driver for Valemount.
This project provided direct employment for one individual and has created spin-off economic return to the community by ensuring the sustainability of the tourism industry.