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Floatplanes on Snowcap Lake #4068
Back To Discussion List Written: 2013.09.06 by: Fred Touche

On September 1, 2013, two floatplanes were observed on Snowcap Lake from the ridge to the north. This is in the eastern portion of Garibaldi Park. Does anybody know if landing a plane on Snowcap Lake is legal?


#1706 - 2013.09.11 Steve Grant - Climbing via Floatplane...
Certainly no easy answer to this. Few of us go anywhere in the backcountry starting on foot from home. Use of floatplanes isn't qualitatively different from using helicopters, ski planes, snowmobiles etc. Anyone concerned with environmental issues should try to reduce their footprint. We do not visit the backcountry without damaging it. And that includes noise and intrusions made possible by motorized access.

Associated with but apart from that is the issue of "style". The mountaineering community seems to agree that minimizing motorized approaches is good style. Yet, the same community elevates many who heavily use or used motorized approaches.

And just to quibble with the fuel consumption of a foatplane compared to driving up logging roads - bear in mind that the floatplane makes two round trips, while the cars sit on the road during the trip. This halves the theoretical mileage of the plane.

#1705 - 2013.09.10 Chris Ludwig - Climbing via Floatplane
This may seem an odd question, but I have always wondered about the climbing etiquette surrounding the use of a floatplane to reach a location such as snowcap lake. Certainly the damage to the environment and consumption of fuel is no worse than a 4x4. There is however a big difference in terms of mountaineering purity and authenticity by using your own two feet. What are some opinions?

#1704 - 2013.09.06 Steve Grant - BC allows floatplanes pretty well everywhere
I believe I did an article about this a few years ago. As BC expanded the parks system, floatplane operators increasingly found themselves barred from places they formerly used. The formed an organization, and in contrast to the often-futile and protracted efforts of conservation-oreinted efforts, seemingly just for the asking the government changed the rules for the floatplane operators.

The old rule was that they couldn't land anywhere they didn't have a specific right to land. The new rule is that they can land where ever they want unless there is a specific prohibition. And through their organization, they can get exceptions to any prohibition. So even if they lacked permits for this landing, I doubt you could get any provincial action about it.

Same for Transport Canada. They used to take this sort of thing seriously, but don't expect them to do anything.