The Province is restricting commercial-scale huckleberry harvesting to protect grizzly bear habitat in the Kootenay Boundary Region.
From July 15, 2019, to Oct. 15, 2019, commercial-scale picking of huckleberries is prohibited in some areas of the Kootenay Boundary Region. These areas have been identified as critical foraging zones for grizzly bear and other wildlife species . The identified closure areas also remain open to household picking for harvest not exceeding 10 litres per person per season.
Traditionally, the huckleberry harvest was limited to First Nations’ sustenance and public household use, but the recent increase in commercial-scale huckleberry harvesting in the Kootenays has resulted in conflicts with grizzly bear foraging areas. That, province says, has 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 the harvest of any amount of huckleberries for the purpose of resale.
However, those picking huckleberries according to an Aboriginal right may continue to access Crown land. This is the second consecutive season closed areas to commercial-scale harvest have been in effect. Minor changes have been made this year to reflect updated scientific information indicating berry patches being highly used by bears that were not included in last year’s closures.
People are asked to look for road signs identifying the closure areas. The areas will be reviewed again prior to next year