Members of the Southwest BC Trails and Access Committee and other FMCBC members have worked on a range of issues over the past several months. Here are some highlights of our work to improve and protect trails and increase access to non-motorized recreation in southwest BC.
A new route to the backcountry at Mount Seymour
Just before the Provincial parks closed in March, ironically, a new backcountry trail for snowshoers opened at Mount Seymour provincial park, thanks to the FMCBC Southwest BC Trails and Access Committee. So, as you unpack your snowshoes this winter, try this new backcountry winter trail.
How to get there:
1. Park at Parking Lot 5A designated for snowshoers in Mount Seymour.
(the west-side shoulder of the road that’s restricted to winter access only).
2. The trail leads north from the parking lot through natural corridors in the forest and heads to the Dog Mountain trail.
The trail has been flagged and marked with poles, but no signage has been installed yet.
New Mount Seymour snowshoe trail, which is currently marked by poles. (Photo credit: Alex Wallace)
Public Consultations with B.C. Parks
Extensive developments underway at Cypress Provincial Park
Over the past 20 years, Cypress Provincial Park has seen continuous and ongoing construction. In recent years, developments in and around Cypress provincial park has been more extensive and includes:
• New 12-storey (now rezoned to 16-storey) towers on KM 4 of the Cypress Bowl Road.
• Several other smaller projects creating additional traffic on an already busy provincial park access road.
• To prepare for future developments, the areas along the road are still being blasted.
• A proposal for a four-season Cypress Mountain Resort in the Controlled Recreation Area ski area providing:
o Summer activities
– World’s Longest Peak to Peak double zipline, from Mount Strachan across Cypress Bowl to Black Mountain, at a height of roughly 300 metres (similar height as Paris’ Eiffel Tower, except visitors are dangling from a harness) – over the east part of the Yew Lake wetland trails.
– Two lift-assisted mountain bike areas
o Winter activities
– Two Austrian Coasters installed on ski runs (similar to bobsleds running on temporary rails) on Black and Strachan – with restaurants and snack bars at several viewpoints.
Whether this development proposal will come to fruition in the current economic climate is unknown.
The FMCBC has enquired about a CRA Master Plan Amendment process for Cypress provincial park and submitted a letter to B.C. Parks when they were drafting the 2014 Ski Resort Policy. Here are some highlighted points from our letter to B.C. Parks:
o A 60-year lease is excessively long for providing certainty to the operator.
o Roles and responsibilities for capacity and visitor management must be clearly set out.
o The policy does not adequately address the maintenance of traditional and low-impact use of parks, but instead concentrates on commercial use and development of parks.
o For existing ski resort plans, the policy provides considerable changes to public use and park access and possible long-term impacts on natural and cultural aspects of parks.
However, our efforts have fallen on deaf ears and all enquiries have been redirected to the Ski Resort Policy, which you can review on the B.C. Parks website: http://bcparks.ca/permits/consultation/ski-resort-policy.html
B.C. Parks indicates this policy was undertaken to provide guidance on aspects of ski resort and permit management not addressed through other policies or legislation.
Cypress Provincial Park. (Photo credit: BC Parks)