One thing that I noticed today is some very old flagging (old enough that the tree started to grow around it,) and the remnants of an old bridge just downstream of the current proposed bridge location. It seems to me that if a well respected group like the BCMC wants to restore an existing trail (this is not a new trail - it's a restoration of an old one,) then it should be a very simple process.
I think so, too. But the stop work order addresses it. It reads,
Whereas the new trail will trespass direct into and over sensitive ecological sites. Specifically, Mountain Goat Ungulate Winter Range (UWR) 2-002 habitat and mountain goat mineral licks on Darling Ridge.
Whereas it is recognized that a previous route through the Skookum River Valley may have been used by BCMC and other wilderness users prior to the construction of the trail. However, the route provided for difficult access that prevented large numbers of persons into the Park and trespass over sensitive ecological sites.
The issuing officer implies the trail is new construction. That is simply wrong. As you observed, there is an existing bridge and old flagging tape marking the trail. The bridge existed in the 1990s and possibly a lot earlier. The route has been used long before that. VOC articles mention it.
The route is hardly difficult. It can be hiked in running shoes and Darling Lake can be reached in two or three hours from the dam. I suspect there will be speed ascents of Mamquam. I myself encountered such a party from the BCMC about three weeks ago returning from a one day ascent of Mamquam at around 3 PM in the afternoon.
The ministry seems to be implying there is a threshold number beyond which it deems the area is overused. That number has never been sanctioned. It exists solely in the mind of the issuing officer. The 1990 management plan for Garibaldi Park mentions no such threshold number nor does it discuss limiting numbers of park users in the wilderness conservancy. I suspect it is illegal to prevent people from entering a provincial park excepting some localized management requirement such as a dangerous animal or imminent natural disaster.
The issuing officer alludes to sensitive ecological sites yet none has been identified on the trail route. The closest approach the summer trail makes to the winter range of mountain goats is 800 meters, which is a largely inaccessible cliff that no one is going to anyways. The issuing officer allegedly discovered a rare and high quality mineral lick heavily used by mountain goats. That may be but it is nowhere near the trail otherwise there would be abundant evidence of it. It is specious to assume hikers have a major impact on use of a mineral lick by goats. The governments own studies do not identify such an impact. As for UWR 2-002, it comprises 500 square kilometers and includes the town of Squamish. Everything is in UWR 2-002. It includes the entire map sheet. It doesn't mean it is all goat habitat.
For whatever reasons, there appears to be a concerted effort to manufacture pseudo-scientific objections to legitimate use of the park for recreational purposes. These reasons have not been clearly stated. The objecting agency prefers to operate in a cloak of secrecy and not engage in open and fully transparent dialogue.