For the fifth year in a row, the Xeni Gwet’in First Nations government closed the campground at the north end of Chilko Lake on Sept. 1.
“We do it to protect the black bears and grizzlies and the public,” said Xeni Gwet’in Chief Roger William.
Gwadats’ih Campground on Chilko Lake also falls within the Tsilhqot’in Declared Title Area.
As time goes on, the Xeni Gwet’in will be working with the province and local operators on a plan that ensures grizzly bears have good habitat and access to fishing, William said.
There is no need to close Nu Chugh Beniz Camp site at the south end of the lake because the grizzlies come and go, he added.
“At the north end there are more lodges and we want to make sure of the safety of everyone.”
With the closure, there will be no vehicle, boat, bikes or hiking access to the campground and commercial operators are asked to contact the park facility operator.
Recreation users are encouraged to check out Tatlayoko Lake, Horn Lake, Cochin Lake, Eagle Lake as well as Nu Chugh Beniz.
William said the sockeye are running on the Chilko River slower than normal.
Community members fishing at Henry’s Crossing have noticed the numbers of fish are down.
“We are hoping by next week it will pick up and there will be more fish,” William said.
“The TNG have been working with the department of fisheries and we know the water in the Fraser River is warmer because there was less snow.”
Some of the salmon aren’t making it through, he said, but added if the sockeye do get to the Chilko River, the cooler temperature of the water seems to give them a second wind.