ClubTread Community

ClubTread Community (
-   Conservation Corner (
-   -   Indian Arm Trail (

sourdough 04-06-2004 12:28 PM

Indian Arm Trail
I know there already is an Indian Arm Trail thread, but this has really been bugging me for some time. Hiking is my favoraite hobby as a recreational activity and a nature enthusiast. For those of you not familiar with this, an individual who wanted a trail around the Arm took it upon himself to create a new trail.

Although this sounds great, nobody gave him permission to do this. Without authorization he began to hack down trees and created his own recreation but at the expense of the environment there. He used migration trails from animals as his guide. If hikers frequent these routes, migration routes for animals will be lost which will severely impact the ecosystem dynamics. Furthermore, do we really want lots of people hiking around our watershed? The area was out of bounds for a reason. What he did was great for hikers and I'm sure it wasn't done out of malice but it is vandalism. I would love to build trails but it is not right for everyone to just arbitrarily hack down trees to satisfy their own desires and completely disrupt the natural ecosystem processes.

I would love to hike this trail myself but I would ask that people do not encourage non-sanctioned destruction. Part of the reason why many of us hike is because we love nature and the outdoors so lets not contribute to irresponsible destruction.


Hiker Boy 04-06-2004 01:33 PM

I think your viewpoint is a little naive. Hiking trails bring people which increases the exposure and therefore decreases the likelihood of logging happening in certain areas. A good example of this is the Elaho. Without Randy Stoltmann and the Western Wilderness Society looking after that trail, that whole area would have become a big clearcut. The impact of a small trail is negligable and it will probably serve as a great animal migration route as do many other hiking trails.

Personally, I think there are bigger fish to fry out there.

"Function is beauty"

seawallrunner 04-06-2004 02:09 PM

hi Sourdough -

first of all, Indian Arm is not a watershed. There are watersheds near the Arm, but the arm itself does not provide drinking water to our municipalities.

Second, we Vancouver citizens owe enormous gratitude to the gargantuan and largely uncredited efforts of individuals such as Don McPherson (builder of the Indian Arm trail, and of the Grouse Grind before that), Halvor Lunden (Diez Vistas, Eagle Ridge / Lindsay Lake / DD trail and many others) and James Cunningham (an ordinary stone mason who took it upon himself to build the Seawall around Stanley Park on weekends, over 30 years !!!)

These, and many other individuals, built structures without a bid process, without tender - yet, we use these trails and structures every day, and they appear in Tourism BC brochures and maps to encourage tourists to visit our town.

I don't think it's fair to accuse Don McPherson of 'creating his own recreation' when (1) 99.999% of Vancouverites will never even think of attempting this route, and (2) 99.999% of that remaining 0.001% will perhaps give it a thought, then turn to a less challenging trail.

As for animals, they know how to safely cross a man-made trail during their migratory and other activities.

Finally, you appear to regret that this trail was ever built - yet I cannot fail to notice that, in your closing paragraph, you mention a desire to hike it.

See? It's not so bad that it's there after all, now, is it? ;)

cheers - C Wall

mick range 04-06-2004 02:14 PM

If you had ever met Don Macpherson you'd never say that about him.He always uses the best wilderness practices,and takes care not to make mistakes.If more people enjoy the trail responsibly,the conservation of the area is more likely to occur.Don't assume the powers that be have always protected watersheds,indeed,sometimes they have taken advantage of their authority to pillage resources.This has occurred in the Seymour and Capilano watersheds in the past,for example.The Indian Arm trail may never,due to its ruggedness,ever see high traffic.Let's not forget that the current government's commitment to wilderness remains questionable(no,I have no political interest or bias).Don did not hack down trees either.....

19351 04-06-2004 02:31 PM

If I hear from one more "Bleeding Heart Liberal" I think I'm gonna puke.

Get some [u]informed</u> info on the trail . Do you think he built a four lane road ?
One sure gets tired of all the whiners and complainers on this site. Men like Don rate right up there with Simon Fraser, Louis and Clarke, Alexander Mackenzie, in my books.
As seawallrunner said it will be a miracle if there is much traffic on this trail.
Get a life and if you really want to do some good donate your time to helping the people in Vancouver's East End or become a Big Brother, or spend some time at Childrens Hospital....make a DIFFERENCE instead of whining.
Give me a break ![v]

" No Trail is Long with Good Company."

mick range 04-06-2004 02:49 PM

The trail's only encroachment on the watershed is at Fannin Lake,and even then it barely skirts the boundary.The entire trail was built in a way to avoid environmental impact and erosion.Too bad you missed Don's presentation,Sourdough,but if he does another,we'll post it up and you can see for yourself when you go.....

BCer 04-06-2004 02:52 PM

Well you have some very legitimate points there sourdough and of course, so do the others. And so it becomes the complex issue that it is. Fannin Lake and other portions are indeed within the Seymour Watershed.

What inspired the maker of the trail is probably what inspired the makers of all the other trails around here, with the exception of those made within, and after, the local park boundaries were created. But what you say is good for discussion. This is one of those things that really bring into consideration our place here. The local hills are seeing much more people and therefore degradation than years past. Whether it's right (good) or not, I think it's possibly an uncontrollable natural thing that some people will want to move further out. But as you say, that's why we have regulations. What can be said other than that "we're spreading" as animals themselves do when overcrowded. Does that justify disturbing animal habits and habitats that have evolved over thousands of years? I would say on the surface no, but hikerboys comments are very valid. It seems it's a balancing act. On most scales, we're so far removed from our natural beginnings with nature, that we have no true idea of what we're doing to this planet.

I was going to end with 'long live nature' but that's a given.

'Keep on keepin on'

mick range 04-06-2004 04:30 PM

Those are words of wisdom,Bclover.You know,we humans,as a collective species,seem to think the world is primarily ours to manipulate.The truth is,as team players,sometimes we don't score very highly at all,do we?But I digress......
I am definitely in favour of responsible trail building,without environmental destruction......

pmagique 04-06-2004 05:32 PM

Hmmm, interesting post.I like the fact that Sourdough has concerns about nature and wildlife. I also saw that Sourdough is studying in that field and I'm surprised to see so many radical replies.


seawallrunner 04-06-2004 06:04 PM

pmagique - why do you deem our replies 'radical'?

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult." -Seneca

sourdough 04-06-2004 06:55 PM

Okay, first of all this is not an attack on MacPherson, but what he did was illegal. He did not have any right to cut down any trees in this area. That is vandalism no?

Secondly, the trail cuts through the Seymour watershed on the west side of the Arm. Contamination or acces to our drinking water in my opinion should be zero.

Thirdly, animal migration routes are sensitive and animals will stop using them if they are used by hikers and especially if they are altered by habitat alteration. I know only a few people will be using these routes but it is a sensitive virgin ecosystem that can be drastically damage by even a few people coming through. Animals do not always adapt well to disruptions in migration routes and to assume they can is a fatal error. By following migration routes, we are encroaching on areas that are mostly highly used by other animals.

I don't really understand how this makes me an out of control liberal. If you saw me trampelling over an alpine meadow would you be one too? I love to hike as do all of you but I believe we have a responsibility to ensure that we hike responsibly. I don't think this is a responsible route and I don't condone unsanctioned trail building. Do I have th e same right to bring my machete when I decide I want a new shortcut? I know there are larger issues but isn't it better to choose your battles rather than just give up cause you can't fix everything? I love to hike but for me its a matter of priorities. I'm not blaming or fingerpointing here but my intention was to bring about some awareness and discussion. I study environmental dynamics and we've discussed the trail. Many of my fellow classmates are also hikers but after studying the potential effects of such a route in such a senstive region we've decided that it would be a bad idea.

I appreciate all the POSITIVE feedback but unless you have something more intelligent to say lets please stop with the name calling.


Hiker Boy 04-06-2004 07:19 PM


quote:Originally posted by sourdough

Thirdly, animal migration routes are sensitive and animals will stop using them if they are used by hikers ... Animals do not always adapt well to disruptions in migration routes and to assume they can is a fatal error.
What/which animals?

I reserve the right to hike where I want on crown land freely and to clear the way to make my passage through it easier. I have never nor will ever seek permission to do it either.

For the record, I am a big LNT advocate and consider myself a naturalist.

You will not be winning any Mike Vandemann type arguements in this forum.

"Function is beauty"

mick range 04-06-2004 08:14 PM

Firstly,I think that with correct wilderness camping etiquette there will be no contamination of our water supply.Secondly,Don did make the use of some goat trails,but they have not stopped using the trails,rather,they've been chewing any ropes he has left to help descend steep sections.Thirdly,intelligent debate is the strength of this forum,and personally I promise no name calling.:)
It is somewhat ironic that sometimes routes like Don's, Randy Stoltmann's in the Elaho,or any number of "witness trails"have been needed to save us from ourselves,so to speak.Look at what is going on in Alaska,where in some areas so few visit that economic interests are allowed to destroy the forests routinely.Beware the maxim"Out of sight,out of mind".While it's important to preserve ecosystems undisturbed,remember that more of us need to be active observers to help ensure this goal.For example,when Don was up there,he observed regular helicopter flights in the Cathedral Mtn area-What is going on in that instance,I wonder?........One other thing,Sourdough,you strike me as a person of high wilderness values,which I respect.All sides of the issue need to be represented to arrive at the best solution....

sourdough 04-06-2004 08:28 PM

What I'm worried about is that not enough people practice good trail etiquette and although the goats etc are still using the trail for now, the trail is very young and more people are bound to use it. The trail itself will likely become more worn etc.

I agree with you that more sides need to be discussed. I have not seen the presentations so perhaps you may have more info on the trail. I guess my intention was to discuss responisibility. If you have more info, I would love to learn more.

Tad Tired 04-06-2004 08:56 PM

I am supportive of the efforts to establish and "claim" the land for outdoor nonmotorized recreation use. I believe that this is a situation where individual initiative and action is invaluable.

Is it true that many trees were taken out or is this more hyperbole? I can't imagine there would need to take down viable trees.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:51 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.1
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2021 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2021 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome