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16.08.2012 (2160 Days Ago)
News TitleSpearhead Hut Survey Results
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Back in May we asked the club members to participate in a survey about the Spearhead Huts and whether or not you support the project and the club’s involvement in it. Seventy four people took the survey. Out of those, 57% expressed a full support for the huts and additional 19% are also in favour but under certain conditions. Thirty members offered additional comments and project feedback.

Below are complete survey results including the additional answers and comments posted by the survey participants.

Survey Question:

Are you in favour of the continued involvement of the BCMC on the Spearhead Huts project?


  1. I am fully in favor of the BCMC being a part of the Spearhead Huts Project. Count: 41 Percent: 57%
  2. I do not wish BCMC to continue to be a part of the Spearhead Huts Project.  Count: 15 Percent: 21%
  3. I am in favour of the BCMC continuing its involvement with the Spearhead Huts Project, under certain (environmental / financial / stewardship) conditions.   Count: 14 Percent: 19%
  4. I need more information to decide.  Count: 2 Percent: 3%

1. Why not start with one hut? Why is this not an option? Tuesday, May 29th 7:10AM

2. It distracts the executive from other activities. Sunday, May 27th 1:16AM

3. The introduction says nothing to prevent snowmobilers or mountain bikers accessing the huts and says nothing about protecting the adjacent wilderness zone as wilderness. I am only in favour of BCMC continuing involvement if the BCMC and the committee ensure that recreation access to the huts is by foot (hiking, skiing, snowshoeing) only, and if the committee as well as the BCMC act to maintain the adjacent wilderness zone as wilderness. Michael Feller Friday, May 25th 3:17PM

4. We should be protecting the back country not maximizing impact as I believe the huts will do. Thursday, May 24th 9:46AM

5. The Huts project is there to serve commercial interests under a thinly veiled veneer of respectability through association with the mountain clubs. People who truly love the wilderness want to keep it that way. Huts will forever scar the beautiful alpine environment. The reasons for building the huts are not credible. Many hundreds more people will be attracted to the area, putting further strain on the environment, the huts themselves are an indelible form of pollution. Why not just institute a “Blue Bag” policy for the Spearhead if human waste is the issue. In addition, three huts is a crazy amount of huts, most people I know can easily do the Spearhead in a day. Why not just fix the Russet Lake hut, or replace it, not as part of the Spearhead huts project because the project clearly has commercial interests pulling the strings. Thursday, May 24th 12:54AM

6. The huts must have minimal environmental impact with very limited running water (if any) and no flush toilets. The difference between low and high impact mountains huts is usually in the use of water resources. Compare the low impact of the huts in the Trophy Range to the high impact od the Michel Trudeau Hut. I do not care about receiving reduced hut fees for BCMC unless we contribute money to the project. Wednesday, May 23rd 11:40AM

7. I support the BCMC invovement- however… -we should ensure that the huts do not become a large commercial enterprise, and that they not be ‘captured’ by Whistler or by heli-skiing companies…they should be focused on the mountaineering community and not become part of the promotional packages of these enterprises. -the capacities of the huts should be limited- 50 or 60 seems too big…probably should be more in the range of 30 to 40….again to avoid becoming too commercial and not focused enough on the mountaineering community. Tuesday, May 22nd 8:06PM

8. This is another example of ‘chipping away’ at the ecological integrity of a Provincial Park. So this one is not supposed to have mechanized access & is not supposed to be for commercial utilization: but once the huts are built economic pressures will be applied & erosion of the initial principles will occur. If BCMC not only endorses, but is actively involved in, the construction of cabins/huts/lodges in this Provincial Park how do we have any credibility if we try to argue against construction in other parks? There has been an explosion of commercial lodge construction across the province, on alpine/sub-alpine Crown Land, over the last fifteen or so years. BCMC has not had the perspective and/or desire to be involved in the approval processes for those. Let us, at least, stand up & be counted on this proposed project. Tuesday, May 22nd 6:03PM

9. I would like to know more about environmental impacts in the area. I’m open to putting in huts if it can help reduce impacts from human waste, etc from current levels. Monday, May 21st 11:26PM

10. It’s going to happen anyway, irrespective of whether or not the BCMC supports the huts. may as well get in behind it and try to influence the process in a manner that the BCMC membership supports. I will bet any takers $100 that within 10 years of opening the huts will be used exclusively by guided parties sanctioned by Whistler Blackcomb. Monday, May 21st 9:42PM

11. Our involvement is being used to provide legitimacy to a flawed process. The BCMC has had little influence on the proposal to date or else our representatives have agreed to the most egregious development proposal. There should have been a list of alternatives presented rather than a single proposal. The one proposal runs counter to our club’s own hut building guideline that huts should not be placed closer than one day’s travel from the point of departure. There has not been sufficient information provided by the hut committee on many major issues: (1) hut capacity, (2) potable water sources, (3) governance now and in the future, (4) hut fees now and far into the future, (5) development of ancillary services such as beer gardens, cappucino bars, i.e. the full European model. There is conflict of interest on the committee in that some representatives own or work with businesses in Whistler that stand to benefit from backcountry huts. The actual impact of the huts on wilderness values of the park have been inadequately addressed or not addressed at all. There has been insufficient time at club social events to fully discuss the proposal - speakers have been cut off or denied the chance to speak. There are bogus claims made that huts will improve sanitation in the Spearhead. In fact, they will make little difference as the majority of use comes from slackcountry clients of the lift companies on or near the ski area boundary. The ski lift companies should be providing sanitary facilities as it is their clients that require the service. There are bogus claims made that huts will improve public safety. In fact, there is little huts will do nothing to improve it - avalanches and crevasses are independant of the presence of huts. Huts may decrease public safety in that it encourages more people to travel in the backcountry and to travel in bad weather or poor avalanche conditions. The questions of public safety and sanitation should not be touted as benefits of a hut system. Claims are made that trails will result but funding for trails has not been allocated. The scope of trail building has not been determined. There are only vague claims that hut fees will provide for trail funding but there has been no projection of how much revenue huts would provide for trail building. The huts will extend the economic zone of Whistler-Blackcomb further into Garibaldi Park at the expense of wilderness values and traditional users. Things won’t get better, they will get worse. The hut committee has pursued a single-minded vision of overzealous hut building on a grand scale to rival European experience. The vision runs counter to basic values the BCMC has traditionally championed. Monday, May 21st 9:45AM

12. Sensistivity to environmental impact- kept to a minimum, and where possible eliminated. Huts should be modest in size, construction and cost - maximum 20 occupants and nothing lavish like Haberl Hut but not as cheap as BCMC huts. No commercial operation/activities. Fair access(use) and cost to club members Sunday, May 20th 4:11PM

13. The club has to benefit publicly in some way (for example via naming a hut) with its involvement. Sunday, May 20th 1:37PM

14. The executive and monthly meeting attendees have raised a number of key issues that I am confident that executive has taken on board. The huts would be a major improvement, given they are not tooo large, that they are sustainable, and that they only allow a modest percentage (e.g., 1/3) of beds to be taken by private guides and groups. Saturday, May 19th 7:02PM

15. The huts must have caretakers. There must be a reservation system in place. The reservation system should give priority to members of the clubs involved (ie ACC BCMC etc). The reservation system should be pay up front with a relatively strict cancellation policy. I’m really leery about commercial guiding groups using the huts for profit. The reservation system must be strictly enforced by the caretaker - ie groups with no reservations should be allowed to just show up and use facilities and sleep in the hut even when it is full. It sounds harsh, but I think this should apply to even using the huts for cooking and hanging out - if you ‘re paying to use the huts by the reservation system you can come in, and if not, then you can’t. Again, with other unorganized huts, I’ve seen far too many people inside trying to cook and eat making things very crowded and uncomfortable. Maybe the hut can be built with small out-shetler or roof overhang where those tenting in the area can find a place to cook and eat under some shelter without crowding the inside of the huts. If you’ve been to Keith’s Hut and Elfin Lakes hut you know what a shit show it is there. Without diligent organization and enforcement, the popularity of these huts will certainly mean these same issues will arise. There must also be a way of knowing the availability of hut spaces within a night or even day of - if this is in place it may allow last minute trips to plan accordingly (ie not have any doubts as to whether hut space is available or not). In terms of construction and environmental impacts, the huts must be carefully planned and designed to incorporate environmentally friendly technologies that will limit the impact on this special place - ie plan and design assuming the huts will be very popular and very busy in both summer and winter. Start things off right and the huts will be a phenomenal success, start off with poor organization and a poor reservation system there will be risk of failure Saturday, May 19th 11:02AM

16. -Size of huts.Huts should be large so people do not have to carry a tent anyway. -First two huts are too close together. -How many $$$ do we want to spend? Friday, May 18th 10:56PM

17. no more than $5,000 contribution from the BCMC (and that includes any money that was already donated to SHC) and the committee meeting minutes made publicly viewable on their website. Friday, May 18th 6:47PM

18. The main reason is that I would like Garibaldi Park to preserve wilderness. The proposal lessens the wilderness in the Spearhead area; and more importantly could lessen the ability to protect wilderness in other areas of the park. It could be the thin edge of the wedge that leads to more hut proposals in the park. Friday, May 18th 12:53PM

19. I would like to have the BCMC involved to ensure that our best interest are included in the plan. I am not a fan of of the project as I see the backcountry turning into a circus and tourist destination. I value the backcountry for the peace and lack of people and would like the BCMC involved to ensure that the backcountry remains a place of solitude. Friday, May 18th 12:53PM

20. Huts will become safety problem with people attempting to get to them that are not prepared to camp. One survey said there were 400 people in this area one weekend - the huts will encourage more - how can they be big enough? Huts will detract from the wilderness aspect ( what little there is left of it) in the area. If human waste is a problem put in toilets not huts. I am against any commercial activities such as heli-skiing, guiding and huts (this is commercial because money will be charged) Friday, May 18th 12:38PM

21. ensure the spearhead huts minimize impact on park values, ensure that spearhead huts are affordable Friday, May 18th 2:03AM

22. I think we should leave the area untouched by human construction. I don’t buy the argument that it’s about reducing human waste etc. People don’t all plan on when they wanna take a shit and if that’s the real argument then why not just build outhouses? Friday, May 18th 12:40AM

23. Great project. Making the backcountry more accessible on foot is the bast way to keep it non-motorized. Friday, May 18th 12:42AM

24. I am opposed to huts in the Spearhead range — no matter what. We don’t need more huts in our local mountains. Friday, May 18th 12:25AM

25. This is a wierd survey. Okay. I do not think it is necessary to have huts along the Spearhead traverse. I am 54 and still capable of carrying a pack with my tent and stove. Therefore younger people should be able to as well. I really like going places with NO huts. However the Spearhead traverse is almost compromised with the existence of Whistler Blackcomb and if one HAS to put huts in for those who like huts then this is probably the best place. We used to regularly use the Singing Pass area for backcountry ski touring - now we never do because of Whistler Blackcomb. So, not only have snowmobiles and their increased use of the backcountry compromised where we can go or have a desire to go, so too has Whistler Blackcomb. I ski at Whistler. However I still don’t like huts in the backcountry. I love that wilderness feel. So I personally will never be for a hut system anywhere. I have no “yes or no” answer for you. If someone said I will break your arm if you don’t make a decision I would go with no - but it is a waste of time. It will probably happen. There are a lot of folks behind this dumb project and maybe it is better we are involved to know what is going on. Kinda like “knowing your enemy” Friday, May 18th 12:11AM

26. I think that the Huts project is a fantastic, high profile venture that the BC outdoor community should be proud of. That said, I feel strongly that input and governance from our organization and others like us is key in assuring that the huts provide a backcountry experience that is in line with our shared values of conservation and environmental protection. Seriously, what are we going to do with all that extra feces? Thursday, May 17th 11:19PM

27. It’s a tough decision for me. I’m generally opposed to huts in the back country, but, as it looks like this is going to go ahead one way or the other (either by the clubs or by W-B), then I suppose I really should support the continued involvement of the BCMC, if only to ensure that it’s done with the least impact possible. But the over-riding factor, in my opinion, is that this is further development of a Class A park, I have to check the “opposed” box. The park wilderness is slowly getting whittled away. But I could equally well check the box above. Strong, effective opposition to and policing of heli-skiing, snowmobiles and probably mountain bikes (motorized and otherwise) would help persuade me to support the project. Currently there is much illegal mountain biking in the park (e.g., the Helm Creek trail). I do not want to see the BCMC invest financially in this project, except in a minimal fashion (what’s been spent to date is ok with me). So far, the questions about how the hut system would work have not been properly addressed. Where’s the drinking water? Where’s the firewood come from, or are fires to be banned. Who polices the huts: managing custodians may not have the legal authority to do anything. “The huts to be primarily for non-commercial use” means nothing to me. It means the committee is willing to live with “some” commericial use. Who decides how much? Who sets the fees? What happens if fees don’t meet ongoing expenses? I’d really, really like answers to these questions up front. Thursday, May 17th 10:37PM

28. There is no demonstrated need for huts along the Spearhead Traverse. Thursday, May 17th 10:55PM

29. No Heli access. No commercial use. Quotas on number on route and in huts at any time and regulated numbers at huts enforced. Thursday, May 17th 9:53PM

30. I am against this project. Thursday, May 17th 8:55PM

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