Frequently Asked Questions

2006 Wildlife Guidelines for Backcountry Tourism/Commercial Recreation (944KB PDF)

1. Why were the Guidelines developed?

The guidelines were developed to ensure that recreation activities in the backcountry are conducted in a manner that does not compromise the current distribution of wildlife, the sustainability of their populations, or the integrity of their habitats. These guidelines define results, desired behaviours, indicators, and limits for backcountry activities in relation to wildlife and their habitats.


2. How were the Guidelines developed?

A joint government and Commercial Tourism (CT) / Commercial Recreation (CR) sector committee (the Tourism Wildlife Project Team) was tasked with developing a set of guidelines that are results based, informed by science and operational experience, and that meet the legislative and policy needs of government and the sustainability objectives of both government and tourism. Guidelines were developed over an 18-month period in 2004 and 2005, with extensive input from representatives of commercial and public recreation sectors and organizations, and endeavor to:

  • address concerns of stakeholders raised after the release of the Interim Guidelines;
  • provide a context for the guidelines in relation to other legal and policy tools;
  • stress a results-based approach based on precautionary defaults and the development of “ alternative” operational strategies

3. Are there other Guidelines for these activities?

The 2006 Wildlife Guidelines for Backcountry Tourism/Commercial Recreation (944KB PDF) replace the first iteration, which was published in 2002 as the Interim wildlife guidelines for commercial backcountry recreation in British Columbia.


4. Who is supposed to use the guidelines?

These guidelines are intended for use by commercial tourism operators tenured under the Land Act when conducting activities on Crown land, including water-based activities. However, it is anticipated that the guidelines will provide useful guidance for all backcountry recreational users.


5. Will the Guidelines affect existing Management Plans?

No. The guidelines will not affect approved management plans. However, when the Management Plan (MP) or tenure requires a review, replacement or an amendment (i.e. due to changes in an operation) the CR manager will assess whether wildlife values are adequately addressed in the MP and whether modifications to the MP are necessary to ensure consistency with the revised guidelines.


6. How will compliance be determined?

Compliance will be assessed against the “desired behaviours” or the measures provided in any alternate strategy that is used.

While “Indicators” show what should be measured to determine if “results” are being achieved they may not be appropriate for determining an operator’s level of compliance as there may be factors other than the tenure holder’s actions that are affecting the results.


7. What are the repercussions if I don’t follow the Guidelines?

Once relevant portions of the guidelines are translated into specific commitments in management plans, they become contractual (legal) obligations

If an operator is acting in a way that is inconsistent with the guidelines contained in a MP they will be required to bring their operation into compliance by modifying their practices or possibly amending their management plans. If there is continued non-compliance or there are serious consequences associated with the non-compliance, it may be necessary to carry out enforcement actions (refer to Ministry of Agriculture and Lands Land Use Policy: “Land Procedure Compliance and Enforcement of Compliance”) (PDF 231KB).


8. When am I required to adopt the new Guidelines?

The new guidelines should be employed whenever a new tenure is applied for, or whenever an existing one is renewed, or in some cases, modified.


9. What is an Alternative strategy to the Guidelines?

If you propose to act in a manner that is different from the desired behaviours in the Guidelines, you must provide an alternative strategy which includes:

  • a suite of behaviours designed to achieve the same result; and
  • a monitoring and adaptive plan to ensure results are being met.

This alternative strategy must be approved by the statutory decision maker that issues the tenure.


10. If I choose to propose an alternative behaviour to one stated in the Guidelines, what is the mechanism for approval?

Any alternative strategy must achieve, as a minimum, the same results and would need to be approved by the statutory decision maker responsible for plan approval. For more information on application and approval processes, see the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts (MTCA) site for Adventure Tourism / Commercial Recreation.


11. How/when are we expected to use qualified professionals, particularly in the context of alternative measures to Guidelines?

When you propose an alternative strategy to the Guidelines, you must have it signed by a qualified professional. This is defined as a competent professional who is a member of a certifying body which has standards of practice and can hold that member accountable. For example, this includes Registered Professional Biologists, Registered Forest Professionals, Registered Professional Agrologists and Registered Professional Engineers and Geoscientists.


12. How will CR managers use these?

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts (MTCA) staff expect that the Guidelines will form the foundation for addressing wildlife and habitat issues in management plans before a tenure is issued. The Guidelines list the results that need to be achieved to address wildlife values in a management plan. They also list desired behaviours that should achieve those results. However, the Guidelines allow for alternative strategies to achieve those results.


13. What if the Guidelines change?
Government has committed to keeping the Guidelines up-to-date. As we learn more about their effectiveness or practicality of implementation (partly through on-going partnership with operators), the Guidelines will be revised and improved. Note: The onus will be on operators to keep up-to-date on changes in the Guidelines as they affect their operation.


14. What happens when the Guidelines are contrary to the safety of my guests?

Safety is always a priority, but operators should not intentionally put themselves in a situation where they have to choose between compliance and safety. The tenure issuing authority should be notified in this event.


15. What about public users?

The Guidelines are designed to apply to those who hold commercial recreation tenures under the Land Act. Because these desired behaviours are thought to be the best way to address wildlife and habitat issues, public groups and individuals will be encouraged to act in a manner that is consistent with them. It is always expected that the public will comply with statutes and regulations (such as the Fisheries, Water, Wildlife and Environmental Management Acts) which are reflected in the Guidelines.


16. What about facility development?

The Guidelines do not cover the development of facilities. While the requirements/standards for those will be covered in each management plan, there is a wide range of sources of information and standards available for items such as trails.


17. I am an operator who is following the Guidelines, but I have public recreationists in my tenure area who aren’t. As a result, the desired results are not being achieved. What are the repercussions for me?

The Guidelines are designed to focus on achieving results in relation to the operator’s activities. In a situation like this, the focus will be on ensuring that the operator is following the desired behaviours. The tenure issuing authority should be notified of these concerns. A public information campaign may be needed.