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New Avalanche Beacon Checkpoint at Kootenay Pass

This BCA Beacon checker and sign is to promote avalanche awareness as a supplement to the existing sign that BC Parks has at that location. — Submitted photo

The Nelson Search and Rescue organization is pleased to announce that the organiztion has completed the installation of a BCA Beacon Checker and sign at Kootenay Pass.

The sign and beacon checker’s purpose is to promote avalanche safety in the backcountry.

"Backcountry users at Kootenay Pass may utilize the sign to check that their avalanche transceivers are transmitting and while at that location, check the nearby kiosk to read about safety and avalanche conditions," the NSAR media release said.

"Funding for this sign was generously donated with a grant from BC Hydro. Various materials for erecting the sign were donated by various companies and individuals known as friends of Nelson Search and Rescue. The labour to install and erect the solar powered sign was donated by volunteers with Nelson Search and Rescue."

NSAR said this is the first season that the sign and BCA beacon checker will be utilized at the trailhead to Lightning Strike and Ripple Ridge cabins and the rest of the Stagleap Provincial Park backcountry area on the south side of highway 3. This BCA Beacon checker and sign is to promote avalanche awareness as a supplement to the existing sign that BC Parks has at that location. This first season is a pilot project to determine its effectiveness and possibly gain some data. If the pilot project proves positive more signs may be installed at strategic points within the West Kootenays. Communication among various stakeholders in this project such as BC Parks, Ministry of Transportation, the Ripple Ridge Recreation Association, and various Search and Rescue organizations was key to make this project a reality.

The sign was purchased from the AreYouBeeping.org organization in Washington state.

"Backcountry recreational use is increasing every year,"  the NSAR media release said.

"Every winter more and more adventures head up to play in Canada’s snowy mountains. Essential winter survival skills for all outdoor enthusiasts include the abilities to recognize and avoid avalanche terrain and effectively rescue a group member buried by an avalanche. You can learn more about this and many more essential adventure knowledge tips by beginning your research at this link.

NSAR would like to remind the public to always remember the three T’s of Adventuring Smart which are; Trip Planning, Training and Taking the Essentials.

Nelson SAR has a survey for the public to collect backcountry users comments and suggestions regarding the Pilot project of the Kootenay Pass (Stagleap Provincial Park) Are You Beeping Sign.  The survey can be seen at this link.