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Topics of interest from BCMC member Chris Ludwig about Conservation and BC Parks.

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Jordan Sturdy Rec Land Use Meeting
Jordan Sturdy Rec Land Use Meeting
234 days ago 1 comments Category: Park Huts
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The following is from Jordan Sturdy, MLA for the Sea to Sky region. It resulted from the meetings held in Squamish and Pemberton earlier this year. Paul Kubik represented the BCMC at the Squamish meeting. As you can see, the meeting notes as Mr. Sturdy calls them read like a rehash of previous government news releases. There is an attached PDF containing notes that captured short, succinct ideas from the meeting participants on a range of topics. Paul believes that Mr. Sturdy has cherry-picked those ideas that support the intent of his government.

 Paul Kubik, Director, BCMC Cabins and Trails

Thank you for attending the Recreation Land Use Meeting and bringing to the table your perspectives on our increasingly busy front and backcountry.

One meeting was held in Pemberton and one in Squamish to include stakeholders from a broad range of interest groups and also to understand where perspectives align and where they differ across the Sea to Sky from north to south. While there may appear to be differences in responses to the question of “how much is enough?” and the emphasis on economic opportunities versus restricting access to prioritize the natural environment, they also highlight a similar common theme. Throughout both conversations concerns were raised about the carrying capacity of the landscape and the experience on the land for both visitors and locals.

In the weeks since the meeting took place I have had the chance to discuss these issues with Ministers Mary Polak and Steve Thompson along with staff from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations (FLNRO), Rec Sites and Trails, Ministry of the Environment and BC Parks to highlight the key areas of discussion and review possible strategies for moving forward.  

Both BC Parks, Rec Sites and Trails, and FLNRO have been working on a number of initiatives that align with some key areas of discussion. Details of these programs are included in the set of meeting notes attached and are also summarized below.  

  • As part of the BC Parks Future Strategy, 1900 new campsites will be developed in areas of high demand including the Sea to Sky, through the Campsite Expansion Program – over 200 new campsites are proposed for the Sea to Sky Corridor.  The formalization of camping opportunities, especially in the Squamish Valley, will help us better manage the experience and guest expectations.
  • Capital investments in BC Parks facilities including the expansion of the Joffre Lake parking area.

·         Expansion of the BC Parks reservation system for Garibaldi Park.

  • The BC Parks Future Strategy also provides funding to BC Parks operations allowing for the hiring of new parks rangers, with a focus on protecting and supporting backcountry areas of the parks system.
  • Compliance and enforcement initiatives with RCMP, Conservation Officers Service, Natural Resource Officers and Parks Rangers combining and coordinating efforts throughout the Sea to Sky, during all seasons to increase visibility and “boots on the ground.”

·         Recreation Sites and Trails has proposed undertaking development of a summer season trail strategy for the Pemberton area.  This proposal will be evaluated by RST management during the 2017/18 budgeting process along with other trail planning and access projects proposed across the province.

·         Formalizing the trail system through trail approvals and authorizations.

o   Recreation Sites and Trails has multiple authorities for managing public recreation trails.  Primarily they are:     

a)      Applying a legal land designation to a  recreation trail in accordance with section 56 of the Forest and Range Practices Act

b)      Authorizing construction and maintenance of trails in accordance with Section 57 of the Forest and Range Practices Act

Recreation Sites and Trails works with the trails sector to accept and where feasible approve new trail construction.

c)      Recreation Sites and Trails has also been working with the Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton trail groups for many years to legalize the existing trail network and encourage engagement with the province to prevent unauthorized trail building.  

·         Rec Sites and Trails will be updating  the “Recreational Opportunity Spectrum Inventory”.  Much has changed in both the Sea to Sky and with available technology over the two decades since this inventory was last done to allow a much more comprehensive and robust assessment which will inform planning and future discussions.

·         A “Recreation Synopsis” for the Sea to Sky is under consideration and has my full support.  We are investigating similar initiatives that have been tried in BC and are looking at the economics around the Hunting and Fishing guides.  More to come. 

This is just the beginning of the dialogue and the actions of Government and is one of my offices highest priorities.  We have begun to sharpen the focus of government on the issues and will convene further meeting and working groups as information is made available, issues emerge and actions are implemented.  I encourage communication with our office in order to keep me informed from your perspectives and we will provide updates as needed. 

I look forward to continuing our dialogue and thank you for your contributions and commitment to the Sea to Sky.

Jordan

Jordan Sturdy, MLA
West Vancouver – Sea to Sky 

 

Jordan.sturdy.mla@leg.bc.ca

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