This letter is written to the bear who comes around Lorimer Road.
Dear Mr. Bear.
I am writing to apologize for inadvertently leaving my trash bag on my deck on the way out to dinner last Friday evening. It is so hard this year to be a bear. Your food supply is low, and your natural instinct is to avoid man; then I came along and teased you with some tasty trash. I apologize for making you think it is acceptable to visit my deck, and make it part of your food pattern. I apologize for making you think it is acceptable to visit human areas, thereby causing fear to my neighbours, and the many pets in the area. I apologize for helping teach you that humans are way more afraid of you and that you can sit and enjoy some rotten old piece of fruit while we are trying to scare you away. I am sorry that my neighbour had to attempt to scare you away which would be a stressful burden for both of you. Mostly I am sorry that at some point you may become too habituated with humans and will have to be destroyed. And finally Mr Bear, sorry there won't be any more trashy treats at my house for you.
My apologies extend to all the people working to teach us about these beautiful creatures, and maintaining their survival.
In your July 26th issue a former Whistler resident lamented about how Whistler men are "jaded and emotionally crippled." Allow me to retort.
I spent my first full season working in Whistler in 2001/02. I am a degreed professional who has been working full time for many, many years. I'm not a 20-year-old just out of high school, as most of the guys are. I gave up a good salary to live the dream of living in Shangri-La. Why? It wasn't for the money. Because I was sick of working for the man. Sick of a stress-filled job that made my life miserable. Sick of material possessions. Sick of being judged by how much money I made. Sick of having to drive an expensive car to appear to live at a level equal to my salary. I needed to make a change in my life that made me happy. Going and working at the mountain every day was the most profound experience I've ever had. Teaching people how to ride was the most rewarding and fun job I could ever imagine.
I had to come home (Toronto) for this summer to take care of some business but I fully intend on returning this season, and I fully intend on staying forever. I'm not in a "state of extended adolesence." I am living life and enjoying it to the fullest. My other life wasn't working for me. It took me a long time to figure that out.
I can only speak for myself but I love the outdoors more than anything, and Whistler truly is the end of the world for a person like me. It has it all. Sure thing, if you want a man for his money don't go to Whistler. I only need enough for rent, food, and beer. It's a simple life and I love it. I'm very happy I have finally come to the realization of what makes me happy in life. And this is it.
Register for hiking trails
As a frequent hiker in and around the corridor I have been surprised that there are so few means for visitors especially to ensure their safety in the backcountry. In many countries there are warning signs posted at trail heads "Does someone know where you are today!" as well as registers, directions to a local store or someone who can make a note of your plans or a telephone number on which you can record your intended destination and route.
I know that the purists would have us never venturing out of our front doors alone, but we all do it. Some say providing registers, along with increased cell phone coverage, will only increase the number of single hikers, but I seriously doubt that would be the case. It may even encourage more families and groups to venture into our wonderful backcountry.
We all like to think that nothing bad will ever happen to us, but it can, as Brian Faughnan's family have tragically discovered. Providing trailhead registers is something that many other communities have done and Whistler should consider doing likewise. Costs could be partly met from the sale of trail guides, which would also help visitors to understand and value the beauty around them.
I am writing with regard to the public access (boat launch) in Alta Vista.
Back in the mid 80s we approached the muni with our plan of operating canoe/kayak trips down the River of Golden Dreams. It was applauded with great enthusiasm. Our trips offer one of Whistler's oldest and most environmentally-friendly activities. We transport members of the public in our multi-passenger vehicles to the public access in Alta Vista.
Has the popularity of the River of Golden Dreams increased? Absolutely. We have been discussing with the muni for more than six years about having an additional public access and boat launch to Alta Lake due to the forecasted increased activity at the existing launch at the bottom of Carleton Way.
Though the amount of traffic using the Carleton Way launch has decreased during the last two years there is a movement about which aims to close the only public boat launch onto Alta Lake. Proponents are saying they'll start with the commercial operators first then "shut it down totally."
Their plan has some major implications to you the public of Whistler. Firstly, many Whistler locals board our busses in the village and we transport them to the lake where they embark on the water. At trips end we pick them up a the public access and boat launch at Dream River Park. If the "shut it down totally" people are successful you will be deprived of your right to access the lake. Secondly if it is shut down totally you will not be able to launch your boat on Alta Lake.
Yes you could drive your car down to the lake and park alongside Lakeside Drive but then the roadways would be chock-a-block full of cars and families and kids running helter-skelter all over the road. The commercial canoe/kayak operators offer a minimum number of vehicles and a contained group of people. Plus the convenience of the public not having to use two cars to shuttle back from rivers end.
Hmmmmmm, last week one of the proponents said 500 boats are launched per day (which is not accurate). If two people per car use one boat then it equals 250 cars x two to shuttle 500 people per day on Lakeside Drive. I think a few vans or busses is much less obtrusive.
One of the complaints is that the commercial operators are so busy other members of the public cannot access the launch. We are all members of the public. It is well known that the commercial operators help others at the launch. We work together to make the launch as user-friendly as possible. In 17 years I have never heard one complaint from people who wanted to use the launch and could not because they had to wait. I was at a public boat launch in a residential neighbourhood in Kamloops on the weekend and had to wait 30 minutes. It's normal on a busy day you have to wait to launch. Boaters wish they didn't have to but until we get alternate access we'll have to.
This brings me to additional launch sites. We were told that the new development next to Lakeside park would incorporate an additional launch site. At this time it looks like no launch has been included in the development plans. We need members of the public to help keep the launch at Carleton Way in Alta Vista open and let the muni know we need additional boat launches for use by everyone.
As a commercial operator we employ many families who live and work in the resort. Whistler is popular for many reasons, including its beauty and diverse recreational activities. If the proponents are successful in closing the launch it is in effect the first knife in the back of Whistler's success. Do you want the headlines to read "Whistler closes the door on recreation"?
I am compassionate to the residents of Alta Vista and their concerns as their neighbourhood is getting busier in the summer. So are all of ours. Whistler is getting popular in the summer. Can we please lobby the muni for additional launch sites and not be pointing the finger at other locals who are trying to enjoy the resort also?