I’m a director of Friends of Strathcona Park, but these thoughts are entirely my own.
This summer, unless things change, we’ll be working to complete a very low impact trail through the Bedwell Valley, and we hope that a large number of volunteers will join us. For myself, I’ve never wanted a trail through the Bedwell, and I still don’t , but I’ll be working as hard as anyone to create one. The reason I’ve never wanted a trail is because the Bedwell was totally trashed by logging in the 1960′s, when the government sold the timber in the valley to private concerns, and I believe it deserves a chance to heal itself without further interference from us humans.
That’s my personal bias, but I’ll be working on the trail nontheless. I’ll be working because I hope it’ill help create the type of park I (and many others) want, rather than what the government appears to want. The government is going through the final stages of allowing a private resort to build a high impact commercial horse trail in the Bedwell for the benefit of the resort and its clients.
I believe the government has violated two extremely important principles in the process of forcing this operation into a public park. These two principles are: Meaningful Public Input, and Minimal Human Impact. These principles are still firmly embedded in the Strathcona Park Master Plan despite recent government changes to the plan (against 85 – 90% of public opinion) to allow the resort and its high impact operations into the park.
The commercial trail proposed by the resort will affect the valley hugely, and it will seriously erode important values of the park for the majority of park users. One very important question is : Why are the wishes of a single commercial operation more important to government than the stated wishes of thousands of “ordinary” park users?
The effect of what we are calling the Oinimitis Centennial Trail on the Bedwell Valley will be absolutely minimal, and it will be extremely sensitive to the nature of the valley and the principles of the Strathcona Park Master Plan. As I said, I believe the valley deserves a chance to be left alone, but if it comes to a choice between a high impact trail to serve commercial interests as opposed to a minimal impact trail to serve the interests of the park, the choice for me is obvious.
I believe the government is gambling that people won’t come out to support their park. They may be right. If you’d like a chance to prove them wrong, join us this coming August 19 – 24. It’ll be a combination work party and Strathcona Park Centennial celebration and it’ll provide an opportunity for people to help Strathcona Park in a meaningful way. It will also provide governments with concrete proof that the public neither needs nor wants high impact commercial trails in wilderness parks, and that low impact, non-commercial trails serve the public and suit the park much better.
This is an extremely important and complicated issue. It has very little, if anything, to do with horses. For more info, go to friendsofstrathcona.org
3825 Laurel Drive