Issue Lead Advocate - Monika Bittel
Once again, the BC Government and BC Parks has sided with Commercial Interests in a Provincial Park by restricting access to the backcountry and the historic Howe Sound Crest Trail.
In January 2016, Cypress Mountain ski area unilaterally implemented a policy preventing public access between 11 PM and 9 AM to the Backcountry Access Corridor leading to Howe Sound Crest, Black Mountain and Bowen Lookout Trails in Cypress Provincial Park. The BCMC board researched the issue in conjunction with the FMCBC Recreation and Conservation committee. What we found is that there was no public consultation as required and that the policy is in direct conflict with provisions protecting public access in the park master plan.
We are working to restore 7 x 24 hour access to this important corridor as required in the Park Use Permit.
Tetrahedron Provincial Park and Chapman Lake are under threat - The Forthcoming Amendment to Tetrahedron Provincial Park
The Sunshine Coast in 2015 and 2017 experienced Stage 4 drought in the Chapman system, the highest severity level of drought which bans all outdoor tap water use. The Chapman system provides water to 85% of the Sunshine Coast water users and the system refers to the watershed containing Chapman Lake and Creek. The lake and upper reaches of the creek are inside Tetrahedron Provincial Park.
The current surface area of Chapman Lake is given as 345,518 m2 at lake full. At 8 meter drawdown, the area is reduced to be 194,445 m2. That is 56% of lake full surface area. The northeast stream is classified as high quality fish habitat suitable for all stages of fish life cycles (spawning, rearing, overwintering, migration, and spawning/holding). It contains 240 meters of good habitat that is critical in sustaining fish. During drawdown the northeast stream would flow onto dry lake bed leaving fish exposed without a channel, cover or streamside vegetation. The drying mud flats would extend 137 meters from the outflow to the lake at 8 meter drawdown. It is unlikely any fish would survive the transit and access to Dolly Varden spawning areas would not be possible.
The SCRD timetable has Chapman Lake removed from the park by a boundary amendment in fall of 2018 and construction in summer of 2019. The construction plan is to install an almost 1 meter diameter pipe at 9 meters below the lake full water level with the ability to drawdown the lake by 8 meters.
The problem in a nutshell. Government tinkering has granted Whistler Blackcomb 33 km2 of prime alpine terrain in Garibaldi Park. Mountain Resorts Branch is the provincial agency that oversees resort development and approvals for the province. In 2017, the provincial agency approved further expansion of Whistler Blackcomb resort. Meanwhile, the agency ignored binding provisions that would have restored and maintained the public road and parking lot up Fitzsimmons Creek. Park goers now walk an additional 4 or 5 kilometers on a boring logging road with potential hazards before reaching the old parking lot. In another slap in the face, Whistler Blackcomb offers what it calls "privileged access" for $56 per person to use its lift system to access Singing Pass. Christy Clark of the recently defeated provincial Liberal government is tilting the Scales of Justice towards "Pay 2 Play" with her right hand. In her left, Ms. Clark grasps hefty political donations to "party with the premier" as the Globe and Mail newspaper had termed it. Vail Resorts, the new American owner of Whistler Blackcomb, registered lobbyists with Elections BC and those lobbyists made significant donations to the BC Liberals. Further donations came from Whistler Blackcomb, its subsidiary Whistler Heliskiing and Blackcomb Aviation, the heliskiing contractor. The donations are perceived by some as elements of the "cash for access" election issue that helped bring down the Liberal government. Was there political meddling that impaired objective decision-making? That's the innuendo of the cartoon. Now, the New Democratic Party forms government with support of the BC Green Party. Isn't it time to end the political cronyism, backroom deals and perceived culture of cash for favors? Abate what amounts to a public nuisance. Re-establish the public road and parking at the Singing Pass gateway to Garibaldi Park.
Read about the human history of Signing Pass access and the complex political and corporate machinations beneath the pleasant veneer of a mountain resort town here Singing Pass Access Summary 1900-2017. The summary chronicles the 40-year long, systematic erosion of park access by a now foreign-owned megacorporation devoted to profit-making and compliant governments beholden to tax dollars. Connect the dots between hefty political donations and government actions or inaction. See large chunks of Garibaldi Park given away 5 or 10 square kilometers at a time to maximize terrain and profit at Whistler Blackcomb. Check for conflict of interest. Watch as public parking and park access withers contrary to binding agreements that would protect it. Marvel how government agencies are compelled to ignore their own policies and master plans and allow park access and infrastructure to deteriorate while tax revenue and private profits increase, massively rewarding insiders and shareholders.
Support the parking proposal of the B.C. Mountaineering Club. Click here Singing Pass Issue Summary and Parking Proposal to view the full proposal.
Get involved. Write to the Minister of Environment, the Honourable George Heyman. See our talking points here Singing Pass Talking Points.
Issue Lead Advocate - Paul Kubik
September 30, 2017
Click image for larger version.
A number of factors show that action on the Singing Pass access issue is urgently needed.
Issue Lead Advocate - Chris Ludwig
The Sea to Sky Land and Resource Management Plan was adopted in 2008 and specifies a number of non motorized zones that fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Forestry, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO). The following map specifies the detailed boundaries of these zones.
At the present time most of them have not been implemented with a Section 58 order and therefore not enforcable by the Conservation Office. Negotiations are beginning to get more Section 58s put in place on these zones.
For Gmap Click Here.
Issue Lead Advocate - Bill Maurer
The LRMP identifies the following non-motorized zones:
The latest Blackcomb Master Development Agreement was adopted in 2017 and specifies a dedicated corridor for accessing the Spearhead range from the bottom of the mountain
At the present time (Nov 2019) Vail Resorts has not designated a corridor as required by the agreement and Mountain Resorts Branch is not enforcing the public interest specified in the agreement.
A number of meetings and communications were held between January and July of 2019 to discuss the implementation of such a corridor. It was determined that the safest corridor would go up the Gondola Road and Sunset Blvd runs from the base 2 parking lot to the bottom of 7th Heaven. The groups represented at the meetings were Mountain Resorts Branch of FLNRO, BC Parks, Vail Resorts, and a number of stakeholders. It became apparent fairly quickly that no substantive changes were being made to establish such a corridor in time for the 2019/2020 ski season.
Until Mountain Resorts Branch and/or Vail Resorts designates a corridor as the MDA requires we are recommending uphill travel via Gondola Road and Sunset Blvd. These runs are the least impacted by avalanche clearing operations, are low angle green runs, and have very good site lines for both uphill and downhill traffic. You generally access the Spearhead by travelling SE from the bottom of the 7th Heaven lift and up the valley between Blackcomb and Decker. We have provided a map and downloadable track of the corridor below.
This can be used for day access to Blackcomb, Spearhead, Decker, Phalanx, Trorey, Pattison, Tremor, and Shudder mountains. This is one of the most spectacular backcountry ski areas in Garibaldi Park. It takes approximately 2.5 hours to reach the base of 7th via this approach. I have included supporting letters and documentation of the negotiations that have occurred to this point. See photo albums of the various objectives that are possible in this area. They were all done as day trips.
Issue Lead Advocate - Bill Maurer
2019-04-24 Meeting Minutes
2019-05-04 Trip to Trorey
2019-06-14 Meeting Request
2019-11-28 Pique - Uphill Battle
2019-12-05 Pique - Action will speak lourder than words
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Backcountry BC and the BC Mountaineering Club have made a prosposal to BC Parks to allow for several new trails for Pinecone Burke Provincial Park. The proposal included the provision of several backcountry huts, for discussion as possiblities. The first draft of the park master plan for Pinecone Burke is being prepared by BC Parks. As of March 2020, the draft plan has still not been released. For more detailed mapping of the proposed trail and huts, click Pinecone Burke Proposed Trails. More information about Pinecone Burke Park and the proposal can be found in the categories listed below.