The Bridge River Delta Park management plan is to identify the key features and values of the park as well as establish the correct types and levels of management activities and to use and development. One of the goals is to create a long-term vision and management of objectives for the park and find solutions to current and future threats and opportunities by defining a set of management strategies to achieve success.
The park is 992 hectares and is located on the Bridge River at the west end of Downtown Lake and around 30 kilometres west of Gold Bridge which can be accessed through the Bridge River Forest Service Road on the South side of Downtown Lake. The Bridge Glacier is approximately 14 kilometres upstream of the park. There is also a timber production management area neighbouring the park. The Downtown Lake Reservoir is used by B.C. Hydro to generate electricity and there is a heli-skiing fuelling station situated within the southern boundary of the park. There has been a recent interest in small hydro developments that will generate facilities and a transmission line connection.
In 2010 the park became part of the Lillooet Land and Resource Management Plan and was identified as a Class A park by the Protected Areas of British Columbia Amendment Act. This means that the park is under Crown obligation to preserve and protect the park’s natural environment for the public to use for enjoyment and inspiration. Any major development in the park is limited to that which is necessary to maintain the park’s recreational values.
The guidelines for the Bridge River Delta Park management plan are based on the LRMP in which the main features of the park are identified as a valley bottom/ braided stream ecosystem and as a critical habitat for Grizzly Bear. Here are the key focuses for the management plan: protection and maintain of a healthy and natural biodiversity and environment, and maintain the natural gene pool of species in the area. Moreover, there is a focus on contributing to long-term opportunities for research activities and ecological education that do not impact natural qualities. There is a want and need to coordinate Grizzly Bear management and negotiate the removal of ‘nonconforming rights and activities, for example trapping and guide outfitting. There will be a focus on limiting recreation to lower impact activities such as nature studies or photography. The major concerning that came up in the LRMP was Grizzly Bear conservation balance and habitat.
Furthermore, when making plans B.C. Parks took into account government agencies, public interest groups, stakeholders and the general public ideas and reviews from group meetings or by publishing the drafts on their website and looking at the reviews left by the public. From this procedure B.C. Parks was able to gain valuable information from different views and perspectives to determine the public’s desired experience.
The park is also located in the traditional territory of the St’at’mic Nation and together with B.C. Parks will work together to find a common ground and interest for the future management of the park.
What does the park represents for B.C.
The Bridge River Delta Park is a beautiful site of natural protected areas with a broad valley, glacial-fed and braided stream complex. It is a perfect example for research and to further understand the natural process of the land and its biodiversity comparing similar ecosystems that have been destroyed or disturbed by human interference. The particularity of the landscape are the old river channels and extensive gravel bars that are a support for cotton wood bars and riparian habitats. There are many examples of braided streams such as the interconnection between Bridge River and some feeding tributaries. Old growth Douglas-fir and lodgepole pines can be found in the majority of the park.
The park is also in between two Biogeoclimatic Ecosystems in which 226 hectares are of IDFcd, 660 hectares of Msmw 2 and the 106 hectares left is water. Plants are conditioned for weather and grow in the area. The park is used a lot by Grizzly Bears especially during the spring season as they can feed on the fresh vegetation that the park can offer. Additionally, mule deer, wolverine, moose, mink and harlequin duck are using it for their spring habitat. There is also a good amount of rainbow trout and mountain whitefish in the Downtown Lake. However, there are not a lot of human recreational activities in the park which could explain why there is such a large population of wildlife, although, it is part of the guide outfitting territory.
Healthy wildlife populations continue to thrive in and around Bridge River Delta Park, using it as a core area where wildlife are largely undisturbed. The park continues as an important spring feeding area and habitat connection for Grizzly Bear that draws bears from the surrounding landscape. The section of the Bridge River that flows within the park remains an unimpaired example of a braided river system with associated riparian values. ~ Park Management Vision
Through the LRMP plans the focus was decided to be on the conservation of the Grizzly Bears habitat and associated population. The priority is set upon the conservation of the undisturbed area and the maintenance of the natural gene pool. Moreover, the park is situated in the South Chilcotin Ranges where the Grizzly Bear population is considered threatened but is protected so the park can help with Grizzly Bear conservation.
The objectives of the management plan is to increase Grizzly Bear habitat which will contribute to the area’s population by working in collaboration with neighbouring land managers and agencies to decrease the disturbances in the park. The park will be supporting the Wildlife Act Motor Vehicle even in the surrounding areas of the park.
Additionally, another objective is to ensure that the park is safe enough for wildlife and the level of protection is high enough to maintain the natural area. This is implemented by deterring recreational activities, assess inventories and monitoring of the park and its species to identify wildlife requirement. There will be no backcountry camping, the park will only be used during the day, research and activities will be non-destructive and non-intrusive. The public will be made aware of the park’s and its implementations and ask to be respectful of them. They will also implement bear awareness safety strategies.
The park is a part of a zoning plan which consists of dividing the park into logical management units, the separation is physical and helps others understand better how the park functions for visitors as well as managers. The focus of this zoning plan is to protect the natural features that can be found within the park and with minimal impact affecting them.
Each objective and implementation will be studied, evaluated and ranked from priorities to non-priorities. Moreover, there will be a collaboration between BC Parks and the First Nations. BC parks will be searching for funding for specific projects and new partners to help in the new implementations. Two strategies have been identified as high prioritiy which are a close partnership with neighbouring land managers to ensure Grizzly Bears migration routes. Information can be provide for small hydro proposals to identify the possible impacts and have an ongoing monitoring of the project.
Finally the key focus relies on the conservation and protection of the natural biodiversity of the park and especially the protection of Grizzly Bears population, habitat, and migration routes. There are many strategies that are included in the park and one of them is the non-disturbance of the par by recreational use, although it is part of the guide outfitter territory. The strategies and plan management were reviewed by the open public to take into consideration the local communities and desires to see the park grow with wildlife. BC Parks is also working very closely with the First Nations which allows them to gain more traditional knowledge of the land and develop better strategies.
- Source BC Parks. March 2016. Bridge River Delta Park, Management Plan, Final Public Review Draft. Available at : https://bcparks.ca/planning/mgmtplns/lillooet/mp-fprd/bridge-rv-delta-mp-fprd.pdf?v=1465745250520 [Accessed 03/2021].