rappel 

Jumping into Brandywine access debate A gang of adventurous Whistler rock climbers headed to Brandywine Falls April 1 to rappel off the top of the falls to the ground almost 30 metres below. Although the hearty thrill-seekers had a lot of fun, they also may have incurred the wrath of the B.C. Parks Service as action such as rappelling off Brandywine Falls is not condoned or sanctioned, says Drew Carmichael, district manager for the Garibaldi-Sunshine Coast District. "We have had film crews and bungee jumping businesses apply to do rope work over the falls, but we have denied all of the requests because of the sensitive nature of the Brandywine environment," Carmichael says. Carmichael says he is unsure whether anyone has ever rappelled off Brandywine Falls before, but he is sure he hopes it doesn't happen again. The only problem is it is not illegal — yet. Just about any outdoor recreational activity that doesn't involve mechanical activity is legal," he says. "This kind of activity is definitely not encouraged or promoted." Carmichael says the area around the falls is an eroded volcanic basin, with rock that crumbles very easily, increasing the danger for climbers and the potential for damage to the environment. He says if recreational activity continues to impact the environment, they may have to look at restricting access to the falls area, other than the viewing area. "In reality what we could end up doing is closing the entire headlands area to public use," he says. "We won't sacrifice any natural resource for a recreational activity."

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