Cypress Provincial Park Backcountry Access Corridor - Page 4 - ClubTread Community

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post #46 of (permalink) Old 01-13-2016, 09:35 PM
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Hi All,
I wrote the original blog and have written an update.
https://medium.com/@stevejoneshikes/...f4e#.phmswo8mc

I appreciate that there are a lot of emotions around this subject. Some people object to the idea that a resort should be able to operate within a provincial park in the first place. However, that ship sailed a long time ago (with a different set of people in government and in control of the resort,) and what's important is finding a way for all users to co-exist today. It's my opinion that if we didn't have the resort, we also wouldn't have a plowed road and that's worth keeping in mind.

I've become very familiar with the Master Plan for the park and other arrangements such as the Park Use Permit and I'm trying to suggest the most logical path forward that is most likely going to give us a positive outcome.

We also need to acknowledge that it's counter productive to frame this as users vs the resort. Many of the users are tax-paying residents of BC that engage in downhill and cross-country skiing and one of the roles of the park is to support them in those endeavors. You might not agree with that, but it's in the master plan for the park.

As a next step, I think that we should be taking a closer look at how parks are funded and whether those levels have kept up with increasing use. I think we should also ask how access could be improved with incremental levels of funding from the provincial government.

I think we have the opportunity to get on the same team with the resort and other stakeholders to fix some problems. I am strongly opposed to any kind of direct action.
I understand those points, agree with some, and acknowledge the others. We do need to compromise and negotiate a solution. Thank you Steve for taking the time to explain the particulars to us.

However, the one point the stakeholders truly must address is that restricting access to the back country until 9 am does the following things:

1) A late start to climbs and hikes, etc in the area increases the danger of accidents later in the day when hikers return in darkness. This means that the resort is refusing to acknowledge this or perhaps does not understand or at worst does not care that this can and will reduce mountain safety.

2) By proxy, it likely means that more pressure will fall to North Shore Rescue, and also resort staff to a lesser extent, to pick up the slack when that happens. Basically, late starts in the mountains are generally not a safe and intelligent alternative and I'm sure NSR would agree with that notion.

I appreciate that there have been issues but I also feel the BC Parks and the resort have brought some of it upon themselves. It should be very easy to make it obvious to back country users where and how to access the trailhead. What about a designated crossing point? If we used that then all anyone would need to do is check for groomers then cross when it was safe to do so. The suggestion of an online season's free back country pass would eliminate the need of resort staff having to issue these "Mother, may I?" passes, which are basically unnecessary and are what create lineups and animosity from users. All you really want is for people to cross the runs safely and they are on their way. The idea of lining up seems again unnecessary and has been leading to confrontation on both sides.

As per parking, the system on Mt Seymour seems to work fine. They ensure back country users park in a designated area. On Cypress I don't think anyone objects to using the publicly plowed Lot 3B and parking further down the hill, and as suggested painting some lines on it in order to make clear the expectations would be a good idea.

Keep in mind that if there had been any kind of public consultation in the first place a solution might already have been reached. Implementing a policy like this, whether or not it is a legal one, is best done via consultation because then the results are acknowledged as having been more open and honest.

In regard to those using the mountain for snow play in unauthorized areas, well, that is a separate issue and back country users ought not be classified in the same way.

In the end, this is both a business tenure and a provincial park, and the parks are complicating the issue by seldom being forthcoming about policy decisions as well. I realize funding to parks has been reduced by the Liberal government over the years but in the future I am hoping they will step up and be more accountable. I managed to contact Mary Polak on Twitter who is the Minister for the Environment. She has promised to report back to me on the matter but I've not yet heard back. Hopefully that can also happen soon

Last edited by mick range; 01-13-2016 at 10:25 PM.
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post #47 of (permalink) Old 01-13-2016, 10:09 PM
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We backcountry skied at Baker a week ago and their system seems very civilized. They have signs directing backcountry users (Skiers, snowshoers, hikers) which way to go to enter the backcountry. They are not parking Nazis and if such a user friendly model can exist in Sue-Happy America then I see no reason it can not in exist in BC as well. Baker runs it operation of National Forest land while still providing access to the backcountry for those who wish to use the backcountry. It comes down to the fact that BC Parks does NOT consult with the public they only CONSULT with corporations.....Let's change park boundaries for logging, mining, gondolas, etc....With ZERO public consultation.
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post #48 of (permalink) Old 01-13-2016, 11:15 PM
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really appreciate the advocacy work on this issue from mick and stevenjonesphotography

if Cypress was to go the route of Seymour and restrict backcountry parking to the further lots, that i could live with. but this arbitrary restriction on access to Black Mountain and the HSCT, for what is not a safety concern, but solely a parking concern for their customers is not acceptable.
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post #49 of (permalink) Old 01-13-2016, 11:42 PM
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So, as illustrated by these photos, the area of contention can be seen here.

You are crossing a very short groomed swath and then you simply walk alongside the swath outside the ropes on a well beaten path as per the second photo where you are at the trailhead. the whole process maybe takes two minutes according to a source who did this today.

Given that you must be crossing near the bottom of the lifts, it does seem to me that safety might just be a red herring here and that it should not be exceedingly difficult. Inasmuch, I don't see the issue but perhaps if I can meet with a manager he could illustrate or describe how it's become an issue.

This was basically my memory of what it looked like but it's always good to see it depicted in photographs for clarity's sake.
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post #50 of (permalink) Old 01-13-2016, 11:46 PM
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If Cypress has been hiring aggressive bouncer types, tasked with harassing hikers as it sounds like, be aware that to physically restrain you from entering is assault, you call the cops immediately and the media right after. Get video. In fact anyone heading there might want their phone kinda sneakily filming just in case.

One or two people getting briefly charged (by real police, not corporate goons!) with trespass and let off with a restraining order to never show their face there again does nothing. Anything that resembles assault or vandalism is ideal for them, as it results in our position being publicly portrayed as a few dangerous loonies and hey presto, they get to bring in all the measures they want to "prevent terrorism"! Hundreds of people would garner very positive coverage and likely a response or at least a reprieve for a "consultation" period from the utterly complicant but very bad-publicity-adverse Liberals. Don't expect anything from quiet emails to the like of Mary "Bookburner" Polak though, she knows she won't get your vote!

This "they" I speak of don't feel any dislike of parks and principles, it's a nice idea but totally irrelevant to their job of maximizing revenue and minimizing expense, and right now they see anyone not a paying guest as a problem to be managed and reduced to the practical minimum. All good for the economy, right?
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post #51 of (permalink) Old 01-14-2016, 12:15 AM
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I believe Cypress can make a citizen's arrest for trespassing if you cross the line. If they can't the law should really be changed. If someone enters my house it's going to be an issue.

Why are people trying to negotiate with Cypress? It's a business and it was losing money to backcountry use. That close lot is super popular and fills up just before 9 AM. Cypress is legally required to maximize profit. Next on their agenda is banning all backcountry use (First by making it extremely onerous, EG: parking 10 miles from the entrance). I'm quite frankly surprised they're not trying to turn away non-ski-hill visitors already.

BC Parks is really the only entity that's going to help out here (and the entity that should be helping out here). Politicians have gutted that department. Hence, a backcountry users lobby group would be my next step. Does one exist? I would love to get involved.

_
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post #52 of (permalink) Old 01-14-2016, 01:37 AM
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I'm quite frankly surprised they're not trying to turn away non-ski-hill visitors already.
Did you read the whole thread?
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post #53 of (permalink) Old 01-14-2016, 02:37 AM
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Re Recurrence:
If we're going to bargain in good faith then i think at least trying to negotiate is a necessary step. While it may well turn out you are right they have said there there is at least a willingness to talk about it. I'd like to see where that could go even if it does not turn out for the best. Are you interested in forming a lobby group? If so, have at it, because that might require more time than I'm able to commit and plenty of people would be needed, etc

Re Alex:
I find the situation as discouraging as you do in some ways. At some point an organized mass demonstration might become necessary and at that point, fine. In fact, I'm just voicing one opinion, if others are apt to organize a protest I'm not one to stop them.
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post #54 of (permalink) Old 01-14-2016, 10:14 AM
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I think we have the opportunity to get on the same team with the resort and other stakeholders to fix some problems. I am strongly opposed to any kind of direct action.
Got a good chuckle out of that.

Chances are the resort owners don't fully appreciate the rights of the public here, and Parks is essentially just a liaison between business and government.

Direct action and a test in court is probably the best way to sort out this mess.
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post #55 of (permalink) Old 01-14-2016, 11:12 AM
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I have received a response from Mary Polak on Twitter, apparently BC Parks is working with Cypress to find a solution.

In return, I proposed a meeting with representatives of back country user groups, BC Parks, and Cypress Resort. I'd like to ask anyone here on CT affiliated with said groups to rustle me up an individual who would be willing to attend said meeting and also to volunteer yourself if you wish to speak on the matter. I will contact North Shore Rescue.
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post #56 of (permalink) Old 01-14-2016, 12:46 PM
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Maybe not an option for this season, but... Build either an overpass or underpass for the BC users or the groomers? Can't imaging a culvert and a few dump trucks of dirt would cost that much... Would strongly argue any fee though, especially given the absence of parking / user fees in all provincial parks.

And, just for being devils advocate, admittedly I don't know the area well - are the defined trails that are in any avalanche runout paths they might be blasting? I know anyone in the BC in winter always is taking that risk regardless, be it natural or even another group setting something off, but could see a liability if they buried someone with a shot they fired, whether that person had signed a waiver or not...

Another question in my mind is wondering how much of the infrastructure up there came out of olympic $$.

For the sake of this argument, seems a good idea to separate the parking concerns from the trail access. As mentioned above, it's an easy answer to lie to any attendant who might block access. IMHO.
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post #57 of (permalink) Old 01-14-2016, 01:16 PM
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Maybe not an option for this season, but... Build either an overpass or underpass for the BC users or the groomers? Can't imaging a culvert and a few dump trucks of dirt would cost that much... Would strongly argue any fee though, especially given the absence of parking / user fees in all provincial parks.

And, just for being devils advocate, admittedly I don't know the area well - are the defined trails that are in any avalanche runout paths they might be blasting? I know anyone in the BC in winter always is taking that risk regardless, be it natural or even another group setting something off, but could see a liability if they buried someone with a shot they fired, whether that person had signed a waiver or not...

Another question in my mind is wondering how much of the infrastructure up there came out of olympic $$.

For the sake of this argument, seems a good idea to separate the parking concerns from the trail access. As mentioned above, it's an easy answer to lie to any attendant who might block access. IMHO.
There is zero avy risk where one has to cross the resort area. The only concern might be the ski grooming vehicles.
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post #58 of (permalink) Old 01-14-2016, 01:38 PM
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Sea to Sky gondola seems to be working well with the non paying hikers, who have had unrestricted access to those mountains since British Columbia was inhabited. Why can the same friendly situation not be achieved with Cypress. Backcountry enthusiasts have been using those trails for generations, and many of these people also pay to ski at Cypress. Can we look at how the model works with SeatoSky and see if we can apply the same reasonable attitude here?
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post #59 of (permalink) Old 01-14-2016, 02:07 PM
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Sea to Sky gondola seems to be working well with the non paying hikers, who have had unrestricted access to those mountains since British Columbia was inhabited. Why can the same friendly situation not be achieved with Cypress. Backcountry enthusiasts have been using those trails for generations, and many of these people also pay to ski at Cypress. Can we look at how the model works with SeatoSky and see if we can apply the same reasonable attitude here?
Interesting comparison. It's kind of a different set up, but there may be some merit to the idea.

For myself, although I do have a Sea to Sky gondola pass, there are times when I hike up or even drive up and don't use the gondola. But, I almost always drop in for a croissant and a coffee.

At Cypress, skiing obviously brings in the more significant revenue, but the company shouldn't scoff at the possibility that backcountry visitors might want to buy food or a warm drink too. Make it welcoming and people will come. Maybe they could promote warm drinks to the snowshoers. Think outside the box (the revenue box being boarders/skiiers only!).
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post #60 of (permalink) Old 01-14-2016, 02:54 PM
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I have received a response from Mary Polak on Twitter, apparently BC Parks is working with Cypress to find a solution.

In return, I proposed a meeting with representatives of back country user groups, BC Parks, and Cypress Resort. I'd like to ask anyone here on CT affiliated with said groups to rustle me up an individual who would be willing to attend said meeting and also to volunteer yourself if you wish to speak on the matter. I will contact North Shore Rescue.
I don't think NSR really has a place in this discussion. This is about public access to Provincial Parks.
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