Posted by: friendsofstrathcona | December 16, 2009

The Strathcona Blockade of 1988 (by Karl Stevenson)

This is the second in a series of articles on Strathcona Park. The first article talked about some of the history of Strathcona, which includes mining, damming, logging and various other abuses which were inflicted upon the park by commercial interests over the years. Although the park boundaries looked great on maps, they provided little protection, and inside these meaningless boundaries the park was being reduced to an empty shell. What’s more, it eventually became evident that the government, which was supposedly protecting the park, was actually quietly allowing commercial and industrial concerns to destroy large areas of the park for profit. Finally, in 1987, a group of dedicated people became angry enough to see if they could somehow bring this damaging process to a halt. In essence, they decided to try to force the government to start protecting the park, instead of assisting in its destruction. Read More…

Cuts in provincial funding have resulted in closed trails, widespread garbage and piles of human waste at campsites in some B.C. parks, an authoritative recreation organization says.

A scathing editorial in the fall report of the Outdoor Recreation Council of B.C. describes boarded-up toilets and parks staff without funds for screws or toilet paper.

“We believe that the B.C. government is failing to provide B.C. parks with the resources it needs for the trails, bridges and buildings which are such an integral part of this potentially world class system,” says the editorial written by Jeremy Mc-Call, the council’s executive director. Read More…

Posted by: friendsofstrathcona | December 9, 2009

Minister rejects meeting

The following is the reply to our request for a meeting with Minister Penner regarding recent changes to the Strathcona Park Master Plan:

Hello Mr. Milne,

On behalf of the Honourable Barry Penner, Minister of Environment for British Columbia I would like to thank you for your offer of a meeting. I apologize, Minister Penner is not available.  Please accept our regrets and thank you for the kind offer.

Sincerely,

Katrina Lewis

Administrative Coordinator

to the Honourable Barry Penner

Minister of Environment

Telephone:  (250) 387-1187

Fax:  (250) 387-1356

Posted by: friendsofstrathcona | December 5, 2009

Strathcona Park: A Sad History (by Karl Stevenson)

This is the first in a series of articles dealing with Strathcona Park. Although I write specifically about Strathcona, it should be obvious that changes to one provincial park are very likely to affect other parks in the system. In these articles I will try to show, using Strathcona Park as an example, that wilderness parks have always been on precarious footing in BC, and that things are no different in the present day.

Strathcona Park was created in 1911, and was the first provincial park in BC. In 1918, it was opened to prospecting and mining. What followed was a roller coaster ride of various levels of “protection”, and classification and re-classification, until, as the “flagship of the BC parks system”, it has been logged, mined, polluted and dammed to an almost unbelievable degree. In 1987, the government of the day carved an industrial corridor right through the centre of the park, opening it up to virtually any industrial or commercial activity, and dumped several areas, including the Bedwell valley, from the park entirely. Read More…

Posted by: friendsofstrathcona | November 23, 2009

Enforce off-road rules (Victoria Times Colonist, Nov 14, 2009)

November 14, 2009

British Columbia plans to make off-road vehicles part of the Motor Vehicle Act by requiring owners to licence them. The announcement applies to snowmobiles, quads, dirt bikes and any other back country recreation vehicle, or as some people refer to them “wreckreational” vehicles. Read More…

Posted by: friendsofstrathcona | November 23, 2009

Public parks, public purse (Doug Logan)

FOSP Note: the following letter appeared in the Campbell River Courier-Islander on Oct 21, 2009

Still more on Strathcona Park… I am not a member of the Friends of Strathcona or any other special interest group, but a citizen of British Columbia. I address this open letter to Clair Trevena, rather than the Minister of the Environment, whose administration is not committed to any course of action other than privatization, in the hope that she will object and offer criticism in the legislature. Read More…

Posted by: friendsofstrathcona | November 13, 2009

Privatization of Strathcona Park (Murry T. Little)

Hon. Barry Penner,

Room 028
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4

Sir,

Re: Privatization of Strathcona Park.

I am very concerned with the underhanded way in which the government has apparently changed the policies of Strathcona Park.

The permit given to Clayoquot Wilderness Resort was given through a faulty and illegitimate so-called “process”, which was contrary to established policy, to the public hearing process, to the Master Plan, and to the terms of the SPPAC.

What came over you? Even if you had no other evidence or information, why would you make a decision to allow horses? To make his decision in the face of information that horses are deleterious to Park situations appears to be ludicrous.

Why would you set up an advisory committee and then ignore its advice in such a controversial topic?

Why would you ignore the vast majority of people when they expressed opposition to that idea?.

How can you set up a Master Plan then disregard it at a whim?

Yours truly,

Murray T. Little

Posted by: friendsofstrathcona | October 21, 2009

Bedwell Bridge Repair And What It Means (by Karl Stevenson)

On October 16, 17, and 18, a team was sent to the foot bridge over the lower Bedwell River to stop the bridge from falling into the river. At some time last winter, the snow load broke the 2 pins securing the bridge to rock on the east bank of the river, and the bridge was only prevented from disappearing completely by a small diameter broken cable, wrapped around a cedar stump.

The bridge was originally built by FOSP after the 1988 Strathcona Blockade forced the government to reverse their action of dumping the Bedwell Valley from the park. Ironically, the Friends built the Bedwell bridge and trail in an attempt to stave off future attempts by governments to further desecrate the Bedwell Valley. Unfortunately, it seems the trail is now being used by the current government as an excuse to butcher the Strathcona Park Master Plan to allow a wealthy resort owner to access the Bedwell for commercial operations.

Read More…

Posted by: friendsofstrathcona | October 15, 2009

Amending the Master Plan for Strathcona Park (Jennifer Pass)

FOSP note: the following letter appeared in the Campbell River Courier on Oct 21, 2009.

October 13, 2009

The Honourable Barry Penner,
Minister of the Environment,

Dear Sir:

While it may be difficult for people to get excited about whether a few horses are traveling into little used areas of Strathcona Park, the issue is only partly about horses.  Not that there aren’t many good reasons not to allow horses into wilderness areas, as any hiker in Banff National Park will affirm.  The main issue is the extent to which the public is allowed to chart the course and plan for the future of this beautiful Class A park, which over the years has been assaulted by greed and business interests and has only been protected because of  the passion and tenacity of members of the public who believe that wilderness is not there solely to be exploited.

Read More…

Posted by: friendsofstrathcona | October 12, 2009

Friends of Strathcona Park Build Bridges (Kel Kelly)

FOSP note: the following media release appeared in the Campbell River Mirror on Oct 13, and the Comox Valley Record on Oct 14, 2009.

October 8, 2009
Friends of Strathcona Park

Media Release

Friends of Strathcona Park Build Bridges

The provincial government’s recent decision to allow private commercial horse use in Strathcona Park has generated a significant amount of discussion about the future of the BC Parks system.

Even though the decision has been made by Environment Minister Barry Penner to amend the plan and open the park to horse use, the Friends of Strathcona Park are continuing their efforts to overturn the amendment and prevent horse use within the park’s boundaries.

“We are waiting to see what conditions the Minister will be applying to horse use in the park and we stand ready to defend the park in the event that its wilderness values are put at risk”, says Kel Kelly, a director with the group. “We see the Minister’s decision as ideologically based, another step in the government’s program of privatizing BC’s public assets, and not a decision that helps or supports the park in any way”, says Kelly.

Read More…

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