Posted by: friendsofstrathcona | July 29, 2010

The Keepers of the Park, by Ray Grigg, Sierra Club BC

(Note: the following article first appeared on the Sierra Club BC website.)

The vision has to be kept by someone, maintained as a constant marker for the present and a permanent guide for the future. History cannot be certain exactly when this vision occurred. But July 29, 1910, was a likely moment. This was the day that Price Ellison of the Strathcona Discovery Expedition reached the summit of Crown Mountain in the heart of Vancouver Island. From this elevation, he and his astonished band of explorers could see the vast panorama of peaks and glaciers, of rivers and lakes, of great forests and deep valleys spreading out beyond them. Perhaps this was the moment when Ellison realized this magnificent place must be preserved as a park. Read More…

This article will attempt to explain the battle that the Friends of Strathcona Park (FOSP) are currently engaged in.  In essence, it’s exactly the same battle we’ve been fighting since the Strathcona Blockade of 1988.  Back then, we were working to protect Strathcona Park from the government, and it’s discouraging to us that, 22 years later, on the eve of the 100th birthday of Strathcona Park, we’re still fighting the same tired battle.

Unfortunately, even after years of education by the public,  provincial governments still can’t  seem to grasp what wilderness parks are for.  They apparently still view parks the same way they view everything else, through money coloured glasses,  so it’s not surprising that their clumsy attempts at “management” end up causing so much harm.  For people who actually understand parks, and love them, and value them for reasons other than money, it’s extremely disheartening to see our precious parks being so badly mangled by the very agencies which were supposedly created to protect them. Read More…

Posted by: friendsofstrathcona | June 25, 2010

Crest Trail open to the Public

June 22, 2010
Friends of Strathcona Park

The Friends of Strathcona Park are ecstatic about the re-opening of the Crest Mountain Trail this past weekend. More than fifty volunteers showed up to clear an alternate route up Crest Mountain, bypassing the old trailhead, which had been closed to the public for the past two years.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the support we got”, says Kel Kelly , a spokesperson for the group. “Not only did we re-open the trail, we did so with the blessings of the government.” Negotiations between the Friends and BC Parks resulted in a signed agreement for the project on Friday, June 18th, one day before the project was scheduled to begin. Read More…

Posted by: friendsofstrathcona | June 11, 2010

An Open Letter to Barry Penner

Dear Mr. Penner

Even though I assume you will never see this letter, (if it’s answered at all, it’ll be answered by a machine) and even though I believe it wouldn’t matter even if you did see it, because all important decisions aren’t made by you, but by the faceless power figures somewhere in the shadows behind you, I still have to address this letter to someone, so I’m addressing it to you.

I am writing to let you know that I’m unhappy with the recent decision by you ( I’m sure the decision wasn’t yours to make, but for purposes of brevity, I’m willing to pretend that it was) to butcher the Strathcona Park Master Plan to allow non-conforming, high impact, commercial activities within Strathcona Park boundaries. I would like you to quickly reverse this bad decision, while you still can. I think it’s crucial for the decision to be reversed now, before your government grants a park use permit to the one wealthy individual who clearly stands to benefit from your flawed decision (and who, to many, appears to have been the main reason why this whole costly, stupid, and detrimental process was initiated in the first place). Read More…

Posted by: friendsofstrathcona | May 30, 2010


Dear Mr Minister,
I am writing to you regarding STRATHCONA PROVINCIAL WILDERNESS PARK, B.C.’s first, and oldest, Provincial Park.The flag ship of the B.C. Parks system. As a park user I have seen with great dismay the deplorable state of this park first hand. Trails closed, bridges broken & dangerously damaged, lack of staff of any type, many areas badly in need of maintenance!

For a Park just about to celebrate it’s 100 year anniversary, next year, this is just unacceptable, a disgrace to the people of B.C. and, to all the tourists , and park visitors this year as well. Over the years many, many people, groups & clubs have involved themselves with looking after, defending, and caring for Strathcona Park. By volunteering to build and maintaining trails and infrastructures, plus, keeping its wilderness values intact for future generations to come.There is even an Official Master Plan for looking after the park which has worked fine for over 20 years, BUT, has now been “GUTTED” and bypassed by you, Sir, and your government.This is by allowing a privately owned company(John Cayton’s,Clayoquot Wilderness Resort) access to Strathcona Wilderness Park, for their exclusive private horse use.This despite the 20 years of work from the B.C.Government’s Public Advisory Committee saying “No” -HORSES IN THE PARK- Plus an overwhelming majority of the public also saying “NO” to this suggestion.West coast wilderness cannot take horse use, and abuse, at any time. The General Public have said “NO” Minister Penner many, many times over the years. Read More…

Posted by: friendsofstrathcona | May 11, 2010

MORV Threat in the Sooke Hills Averted

(FOSP Note: The following article by Cedric Zala of the Alpine Club of Canada (Vancouver Island) appeared in the May ACCVI newsletter.)

The threat of motorized off-road vehicle (MORV) enthusiasts operating in Capital Regional District Parks diminished considerably on April 21, 2010 when the CRD Parks Committee voted unanimously to continue the ban on this destructive and disruptive pastime. The MORV threat became apparent in March, when the CRD Parks Committee at their March meeting indicated that the ban on Motorized Off-Road Vehicles (MORV) in Regional Parks might be rescinded. In response, the ACCVI coordinated a concerted effort leading to the formation and mobilization of the “Preserve Our Parks” alliance (POP). Members of the alliance included: Read More…

Posted by: friendsofstrathcona | April 26, 2010

Strathcona : A Park For All Activities? (by Karl Stevenson)

This is the fifth in a series of articles about Strathcona Park. My last article contained an error. I wrote that a permit had already been granted for commercial horse use in the park. This isn’t true. The permit has not yet been granted.

One of the main things that the original Strathcona Park Master Plan called for was: minimal human impact. Most people seem to realize that a wilderness park, unlike many other kinds of parks, is meant to be a place which is affected as little as possible by humans. They understand that many human activities must be excluded from the park, if we expect the park to retain its intended value. Read More…

Posted by: friendsofstrathcona | March 26, 2010

How the Strathcona Park Master Plan Was Butchered (by Karl Stevenson)

This is the fourth in a series of articles on the history of Strathcona Park.

This is the fourth in a series of articles on Strathcona Park. The previous articles have shown how the park has historically received little protection from governments, and has instead been plundered by them, in a pattern that has continued since Strathcona was created in 1911. In my last article, I outlined how the park finally received some protection in 1988, when citizens became desperate enough to go to jail in an attempt to protect their park from their government. As a result of this citizen action, (which became known as the Strathcona Blockade) government plans for increased commercialization and industrialization of the park were thwarted, and a number of safeguards were formulated (with extensive public participation) which people hoped would help to protect the park in future. Read More…

Posted by: friendsofstrathcona | March 4, 2010

Gains From the 1988 Strathcona Blockade (by Karl Stevenson)

This is the third in a series of articles on the history of Strathcona Park.

No one who took part in the 1988 Strathcona Blockade expected it to be fun, and it wasn’t.  It was exhausting, draining, and terrifying.  We hadn’t wanted to do it in the first place, and, when it was done, we certainly had no wish to do it again.   Against all predictions, we had “won” our battle with the government, (we had stopped the drilling in the park) but we all knew it wasn’t enough.    If we didn’t want to stage a blockade whenever the government “forgot”, once again, that it was supposed to be looking after our park, we had to do more.  We needed to introduce safeguards which would hopefully make it harder for government and commercial interests to continue destroying what so many of us had worked so very hard to protect. Read More…

Posted by: friendsofstrathcona | January 13, 2010

The Rise And Fall Of The Crest Creek Steering Committee

A Discussion Paper: Restoring Funding to our Provincial Parks

Chris Barner
Ahren Rankin

The Heathens Club

Photography: Mike Rankin, Sonia Nicholl

The Crest Creek Crags Climbing Area:

The Crest Creek Crags are a rock climbing area situated adjacent to highway 28 just within the western boundary of Strathcona Park, about one hour drive from the city of Campbell River, or 15 minutes from the town of Gold River to the west.

The crags are located close to the road (in most cases approaches take less than 10 minutes) in an area that has been much used for industrial purposes. The crags occupy a square kilometer or so, and exist alongside a logging road, a water diversion project, a powerline and highway 28. Over the years stakeholders have included local recreationists, BC Parks, local industry and business and the department of highways. Read More…

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