The Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) announced Friday that it will fund Avalanche Canada with $450,000 over three years.
Most of the Basin is served by Alavanche Canada, which provides daily avalanche forecasts via its website and mobile app and coordinates and delivers avalanche awareness and education program, among other things.
Of Avalanche Canada’s 12 forecast regions, eight are in the Basin. Between 2000 and 2014, 52 per cent of avalanche fatalities occurred in the Basin, making the organization’s services that much more important to the region.
“We’re blessed with beautiful mountains here in the Basin, which means we have to be smart when we play out there in the winter,” said Johnny Strilaeff, CBT president and CEO.
“The efforts of Avalanche Canada not only help protect residents, but help our region continue to attract winter tourists. This boosts our economy, as does the fact Avalanche Canada and its employees are based right here in the Basin.”
The non-profit organization provides jobs for over 30 people during the winter through its head office in Revelstoke and its field team in Fernie.
“We are extremely grateful for this support from Columbia Basin Trust,” said Gilles Valade, executive director of Avalanche Canada. “Predictable multi-year funding is critical for our operations and allows us to maintain our services for the backcountry community.”
CBT also funded Avalanche Canada in 2015, with $370,000 over two and a half years. In addition to continuing its ongoing activities, the organization used this for items like developing a new website, upgrading its technology and introducing the Mountain Information Network, which allows backcountry users to share real-time data and observations from the field.
The Trust has also committed $50,000 over two years to help Avalanche Canada deliver a program specific to youth. In 2015-16, the organization delivered the program to 36 schools in 26 Basin communities, raising avalanche awareness and reducing risks among nearly 4,000 students of all ages.
If you’re headed out to the backcountry, check avalanche.ca before you go.