FOSP note: the following letter appeared in the Comox Valley Echo on Sep 15, 2009.
I read the letter from Lynne Powell in the Comox Valley Echo (September 4, 2009) regarding the “misinformation from the anti-horse crowd.” She states that “anyone with a computer and two minutes to spare can find that horses are indeed allowed in Banff National Park.” If she had spent more than two minutes, she might have discovered that Parks Canada is taking steps to reduce the amount of horse use in both Banff and Jasper National Parks.
The issues in Banff and Jasper are the same as the ones being discussed by the Friends of Strathcona Park who are concerned about the integrity of the trails and the wilderness in the parks: grazing, trampling, compacting, protection of wildlife habitat, “low impact travel to ensure that the wilderness experience you enjoy remains intact for the generations that follow (Parks Canada – Horse Users’ Guide).” Anyone who has hiked into the Tonquin Valley, Jasper National Park, will have experienced the “damage done by horses to the trails and meadows (Jasper Environmental Association; http://www.jasperenvironmental.org/tonquin.htm).”
The climatic conditions in West Coast areas will likely exacerbate the environmental impact of horse use in wilderness areas. In the present milieu of preservation and phasing in of restrictions to horse use in the National Parks, the decision of the BC Minister of Environment to approve the introduction of horse use in Strathcona Provincial Park warrants further scrutiny.
Darrell Joan Tomkins