Environmental Work

Time Lapse Camera

With a huge thanks to the Toronto Section ACC for their donation of funds, we were able to install a time lapse camera focused on Nordic Glacier. With only a few years under our belts the camera has already given us some fascinating pictures of seasonal change on the ice.

Nordic Glacier Study

As the climate warms and glaciers recede Sorcerer is happy to be supporting Glacier studies in the Columbia Basin. The University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), in partnership with the Columbia Basin Trust and with BC Hydro, is conducting a study across the Columbia Mountains of British Columbia, as part of the Canadian Columbia Basic Glacier and Snow Research Network (CCBGRN). This study began in 2013 and is funded through 2018 right now.  With ground penetrating radar, LIDAR, satellite imagery, and measurements of ice movement, winter accumulation and snow melt, scientists can determine annual and seasonal mass balance. This matters as the glaciers contribute a big portion of the critical late season flow in the Columbia River and an understanding of the coming changes will help inform adaptive management strategies for the future.

Whitebark Pine

Sorcerer Lodge is also involved in research on the endangered Whitebark pine trees. These old giant moss covered characters have been standing watch for hundreds of years providing shelter, food and protection for so many generations and types of animals and plants that it’s difficult to really grasp their impact on our psyche and our world. These trees just deserve respect and up here we all know some of them personally.

We are fortunate to be located pretty much smack in the middle of a Whitebark forest. Some healthy stands seem to be having a bit of success fighting off the deadly blister rust that is responsible for devastating the species throughout North America. We have been hosting PHD students involved in the studies, collecting and sending cone samples, pictures etc from our trees. Researchers have visited the area and we will continue to support them with volunteer labour, heli costs and accommodation. If all goes well, we may discover that we have some rust resistant trees here which could add to the bank of surviving genetic diversity of these beautiful and threatened trees. The sense of power and vulnerability at the same time is nearly overwhelming as you ski or hike amongst these giants.

Wolverines

We are so very fortunate to have a resident wolverine population at Sorcerer. Glacier National Park has ongoing research projects studying these amazing animals and our wolverines rather huge territories overlap with the park. We are happy to be compiling a record of tracks, sightings etc. and sharing information with the park researchers.  Wolverines are an indicator of ecosystem health and a true symbol of the Canadian wilderness.

Mountain Goats & Others

Mountain goats (which are actually more closely related to antelopes) seem to enjoy the terrain around Sorcerer as much as we do. These sentinels of the mountains suffered a population crash in the 90’s throughout this part of Canada and we saw few of them for about 10 years. We are happy to report a comeback in our terrain. It is very possible that at some point during your stay you will catch a glimpse of the animals. At the very least you’ll find long woolly bits trailing from tree branches on the ridgetops. They are watching you….

We avoid disturbing them.

In addition to the big and most notable animals, the staff and clients of Sorcerer are monitoring populations of pikas, ptarmigan, marmots, martin and Clark’s nutcrackers. All of these species are suffering declines in some areas of North America and we have been asked to help to establish base-line populations in areas where they are still healthy. So far, up here, they are.

Outhouse Composting

Since 2010 we have been utilized a method based on the help and advice of Geoff Hill, a UBC PhD candidate who carried out research on human waste management systems located off-grid and at elevation. Initially we incorporated worms into our system. They didn’t survive the winters but we discovered that the natural population of worms, grubs, larvae etc are doing just fine.  Goodness knows there is enough for them to live on! We’ve decided that ski tourers eat more than anyone else on the planet.