Recreation Industry and BC Parks

ken_vandeburgt

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Here is an article about a conflict with the recreation industry and the public recreation resource in Juan de Fuca Park:
http://www.timescolonist.com/travel/Dev ... story.html

There is a similar problem with the recreation industry in Strathcona Park. There is currently a Park Use Permit application by a recreation industry outfit trying to build exclusive use infrastructure in Strathcona Park. This will open the door to building exclusive use infrastructure such as campsites and cabins in all of our parks.
http://www.cwrapplication.com/

The park act was changed to accommodate private infrastructure in 2007.
http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws ... 0_96344_01

The BC government isn’t managing our Parks according to the principles of public trust doctrine for the public benefit. It doesn't matter the party; NDP, Liberal, or whatnot, our government has a poor record of managing Parks for the public benefit.

If you care about your Provincial Parks the time to get involved is now. Write your MLA. Get involved with groups that support public recreation.

If we can't get this arrogant govenment of the day to listen then, as is suggested in the article about Juan de Fuca Park, perhaps we should turn all of BC Parks into National Parks for management at the national level.
 

ken_vandeburgt

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Word of mouth is the park use permit allowing exclusive use infrastructure in Strathcona Park is being granted in principle. All that is left is for the engineering details to be worked out.

Infrastructure includes tent pads in the Bedwell Valley. The tent pads will be available for use by the public except when the resort (CWR) wants them. If you are camping there when the pads are booked you will be required to move.

Bedwell Valley is part of Clayoquot Sound.
 

ken_vandeburgt

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http://ekoscommunications.com/node/754

I would like to have my say I don’t necessarily want my way. But if I can’t have my say then I will have my way.

When you are asking people to participate seriously listen to what we are saying and then we will trust you with the decisions you make. If we know you have seriously heard what we’ve said we’ll take it in consideration. - Jake Masselink
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort (CWR) submitted an application for a Park Use Permit in Strathcona Park. The permit is to operate horse tours in the Bedwell Valley, which is part of Clayoquot Sound. The old Bedwell mining road, which is severely eroded due to its proximity to the Bedwell River, will be repaired and bridges replaced to a level that will facilitate horse use. The permit includes a provision for campsite infrastructure such as tent pads, outhouse, and a horse railing. The campsite will be available for public use when the resort is not using it. A schedule will be posted and people will be expected to move when the resort is there.

The key issue is that the permit will allow for the construction of privately owned infrastructure for exclusive use by a recreation industry resort. The low level accomodation (tent pads) in this permit is being seen as the thin edge of the wedge for allowing more complex recreation industry infrastructure such as cabins in all of our Provincial Parks.

The Strathcona Park Master Plan has been amended to accomodate horse use in the Bedwell Valley.

The BC Park Act was amended in 2007 to permit privately owned recreation industry infrastructure in our parks.

The CWR Park Use Permit application has received approval in principle by BC Parks. All that remains are to work out the engineering details.

BC Parks is now trying to garner support for a group campsite on forbidden plateau that includes a roofed shelter. This is being seen as setting a precedent to allow such infrastructure in the Bedwell.

Our government is failing to manage our Park according to the principle of public trust doctrine. In the past 100 years there have been concessions made to the logging industry, the mining industry, the hydro electric industry, and more recently the recreation industry. Strathcona Park is an important recreation resource for all of Vancouver Island communities. If the mismanagement by our government is allowed to continue the Park will no longer be there 100 years from now. It is long past due for our government to start managing our Park exclusively for the public benefit.

The least you can do is start writing to people, such as your MLA, who may be able to effect substantive change to the way our Park is being managed.

If you want to participate further in protecting Strathcona Park please contact Friends of Strathcona Park.

Website: http://friendsofstrathcona.org/
Facebook: Friends of Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island
 

askye

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Thanks for posting about these issues.

On Kauai, in the Kalalau valley, the park wardens are essentially at war with people who wish to occupy the park land illegally. Damage is done to the park on both sides; e.g., some Illegal residents propagate invasive species and leave waste, while trees bearing edible fruit are cut down by the park staff to discourage residents. Since the valley is relatively inaccessible, helicopters are employed at great expense.

This kind of situation is more or less relevant to any large wilderness area, depending on ease of living conditions. Rather than persist in interminable and expensive conflict, permanent and responsible residents might be selected and engaged by the managing authority to act as caretakers and liaisons.

Back in BC, I spoke with the provincial park ranger on one of the gulf islands. I don't recall the exact boundaries but his mandate covered an enormous span of coast essentially from the southern gulf islands to somewhere north of Campbell River. He was also outfitted with Arc'teryx clothing (which he admitted was a waste of public funds). Obviously, it's ridiculous to have one person trying manage so much geography; seems better for all to simply work with the natural locals.
 

Dan_Millsip

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askye said:
Back in BC, I spoke with the provincial park ranger on one of the gulf islands. I don't recall the exact boundaries but his mandate covered an enormous span of coast essentially from the southern gulf islands to somewhere north of Campbell River. He was also outfitted with Arc'teryx clothing (which he admitted was a waste of public funds). Obviously, it's ridiculous to have one person trying manage so much geography; seems better for all to simply work with the natural locals.
This must have been quite some time ago as the Gulf Islands have been managed by the federal government for the past several years -- I believe that there are currently some 30 employees looking after the Gulf Islands park.

I really don't see a problem with the government issuing good quality clothing to their employees who are working in the outdoors.
 

askye

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Dan_Millsip said:
I really don't see a problem with the government issuing good quality clothing to their employees who are working in the outdoors.
Nor do I but the man in question said he thought it was wasteful and he actually preferred his other (non-Arc'teryx) gear.
 

ken_vandeburgt

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Over twenty years ago a very high profile protest in Strathcona Park saw the first Canadians ever arrested and charged for defending a park. In response a Master Plan was developed and a Government appointed Advisory Committee struck to safeguard that plan.

In 1988 the threat came from mining. But today as a member of the Strathcona Park Public Advisory Committee (SPPAC) I observe a strange state of affairs. Now it seems, the pre-exisiting mining company operating in Strathcona appears to be the only organization that actually takes the advice of SPPAC seriously. BC Parks has lost sight of why SPPAC was created in the first place: to avoid conflict by providing a substantive opportunity for the public to review and comment on management decisions.

For example, earlier this year, after a grossly-flawed public input process, the Minister of Environment, ignored overwhelming public opposition and the advice of its own advisory committee and approved a park use permit for Clayoquot Wilderness Resort to operate commercial backcountry horse tours in Strathcona Park. The advice of SPPAC was that, despite loose wording, the intent of the Master Plan did not permit horse riding. This was brushed aside and an amendment was made to the Master Plan in direct conflict with the position of the public body charged with safeguarding it.

Adding insult to injury, an inordinate amount of BC Parks staff time and therefore money was allocated to facilitate this application at a time when park infrastructure is rapidly decaying and is neglected due to budget cuts.

Once drafted, the terms of the permit were provided to the Strathcona Park Public Advisory Committee for comment and ‘advice’. Despite providing valid and reasonable suggestions to modify these terms, for example that the length of the initial permit be reduced from an overly-generous twenty years to ten, the Regional Manager to whom SPPAC ‘advises’ simply rejected every recommendation. This is a worrying breach of BC Parks’ own mission statement that commits to managing our provincial parks in the public trust.

I think, as a committee member representing the public on matters concerning Strathcona Park, that it is important for everyone to know, that it is glaringly apparent that the public has no input whatsoever into the management of our Provincial parks, and that in the case of our oldest park their representation through SPPAC is systematically minimized, short-changed and flat out ignored.

This should come as little surprise as indicated by Premier Clark shrugging off the recommendations of the Strathcona Centennial Expedition: that the Government reaffirm its commitment to manage parks in the public interest.

As the centennial year of BC Parks, 2011, draws to a close it is shameful to report that the glorious legacy left for us one hundred years ago is under direct attack from the very Government responsible for protecting it. I urge readers who value our parks to communicate to our MLA in the strongest terms that they wish their voices to be heard and heeded where conservation and protection is being called for.

-Philip Stone

Philip Stone's editorial appears on Page 5 Discovery Islander 9 December 2011
http://www.discoveryislands.ca/news/DI-514.pdf
 

ken_vandeburgt

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Letter to the Editor 02-16-2012
Dear Editor

The Friends of Strathcona Park (FOSP) have been fighting for approximately seven years against government moves to allow a high-impact commercial operation into the Bedwell Valley in Strathcona Park.

When the Strathcona Park Master Plan didn't allow the proposed commercial activity, the government changed the Master Plan.

When 80 - 90% of people attending a hastily contrived government "consultation" process spoke against it, the government went ahead.

When the Strathcona Park Public Advisory Committee (appointed by government) opposed it unanaimously, the government still went ahead.

The Friends of Strathcona Park have been fighting issues similar to this one since a former government chopped the park in half in 1987 and opened the park up to extensive high-impact commercial operations. FOSP won that battle, and the governent was forced to reverse its actions after a major public blockade in 1988.

The fight to create a real park didn't end with the blockade. A few years later, when a park administrator turned park land over to a logging company to construct a logging road, FOSP fought it in court.

When a mine illegally flew engineering crews into several alpine lakes in the park to prepare plans to siphon water from the delicate lake systems for hydro power, FOSP fought again.

Obviously, it takes more than a set of boundaries to create a park. To be effective, the boundaries must have meaning, and meaning doesn't come without work. Before the 1988 blockade, there were around 250 mining claims in Strathcona. Whole valleys in the park had been logged with government approval. Entire watersheds had been dammed to provide hydro power for commercial purposes. Creeks were polluted, fish were killed, lakes were strewn with garbage, all by commercial operations approved by provincial governments.

Drawing boundaries on a map doesn't create a park. From 1911 to 1988, Strathcona was essentially a commercial park. In 1988, people finally began to fight to give park boundaries some real meaning. People wanted a real park, not a commercial enterprise.

Most of the mining claims in the park have now been extinguished. There is currently only one operating mine, and it will eventually close. Commercial logging in the park has stopped. Lakes are no longer being dammed. These activitiies, so damaging to the park, didn't just stop on their own, and they weren't willingly stopped by governments. It took a huge amount of hard work and the arrests of many dedicated people to force government to change direction. The battle continues.

In December, the present provincial government approved a permit for a high-impact commercial dude ranch operation in the Bedwell Valley.

This operation is totally unsuitable to a west coast rainforest valley. It will harm the park in many ways. The park belongs to the public, and the government shouldn't have the right to give the Bedwell over to serve the commercial wishes of a high-impact private operation.

FOSP will fight this in court. A motivated and very capable lawyer has been hired. A win will create a valuable precedent in law. The park is worth it. Please donate at: http://friendsofstrathcona.org/

These are my own thoughts, and I'm writing this plea on my own, although I'm also an executive member of FOSP.

Karl Stevenson

https://sites.google.com/site/testforfm ... 02-16-2012
 
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