Huckleberry harvest restricted to protect grizzly habitat
The provincial government is restricting commercial-scale huckleberry harvesting to protect grizzly bear habitat, including several locales in the East Kootenay.
From July 15 to Oct. 15, commercial-scale picking of huckleberries is prohibited in some areas of the Kootenay Boundary region, including Little Moyie and Kid Creek west of Moyie and Iron Creek/Sand Creek and Sportsman Ridge/Upper Flathead River west and south of Fernie and Monk Creek, west of Creston.
These areas have been identified as critical foraging zones for grizzly bears and other wildlife species. These areas are of high traditional value to First Nations, a Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development press release explained.
Traditionally, the huckleberry harvest was limited to First Nations sustenance and household use. The recent increase in commercial-scale huckleberry harvesting in the Kootenays has resulted in conflicts with grizzly bear foraging areas and damaged habitat, particularly where mechanical harvesting devices are used.
The criteria defining commercial-scale harvesting includes:
* harvest or possession of huckleberries exceeding 10 litres per person, per season;
* use of mechanical pickers, or any device other than hand-picking; and/or
* harvest of any amount of huckleberries for the purpose of resale.