Originally Posted by stevenjonesphotography
I wrote the original blog and have written an update.
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