Letters to the editor for the week of January 10th 

Comment deadline

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Comment deadline

I'd just like to offer a reminder that the deadline for comment on the Draft Garibaldi Park management plan is today, January 10.

Like it or not, it appears that this is the only forum for public input into the decision process. In regard to the issue of continued heli-skiing, other than myself and John Baldwin, there has been a distinct lack of comment (unless there is) a corporate self-interest. I know for a fact that there are many in the valley who are opposed yet remain silent to protect their relationship with Whistler Blackcomb or Whistler Heli-Skiing, usually in the capacity of employment or business relations. I completely understand this imperative and for that reason I hope everyone uses the opportunity provided by BC Parks to influence the decision process.

On that point it should be noted that as quoted from the draft park plan: "Based on the public comments submitted via the questionnaire, 68 per cent of respondents are not in favour of heli-skiing continuing in the park."

Yet for some inexplicable reason the plan proposes to continue allowing it to occur, offering only the vague rationale that to not do so would mean local heli-skiing opportunities would suffer to the point of viability. Aside from the fact that this observation can be disproven by simply looking around at all the non-park heli and cat operators, no one from Whistler Heli-Skiing, Whistler Blackcomb or BC Parks has presented a remotely compelling case to back up this assertion.

Surely BC Parks doesn't simply take their word for it over a coffee and handshake? Of course not, so no doubt they are willing to share the details, yet with such a deafening silence I suppose the "public" is expected to be content with wondering how the "stakeholders" conversation went behind closed doors.

Funny choice of words that BC Parks used there ... isn't the public the biggest stakeholder of them all when it comes to such a public asset? I'm sorry, was that a No?

What is abundantly true and observable is the fact that backcountry ski touring is increasing in popularity while at the same time decreasing in available land base, mostly due to the proliferation of mechanized sledding in crown land areas. All B.C. parkland is to some degree valued because of its wilderness attributes where fossil-fuelled recreation is incompatible.

I'm not sure why BC Parks allows heli-skiing yet no heli-hiking, but it is most likely due to wildlife concerns. For some reason they don't register quite the same concern with the sizable herd of human wildlife that migrate there every day in the winter! A fossil-fuelled activity available only to those who pony up a thousand bucks a day seems a rather odd fit in a piece of park where the average wage earner likes to find a little peace and a well earned break from the work week.

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