Good News – Long-term funding to plow the Rubble Creek road and parking in Garibaldi Park
On August 20, 2021, David Whiteside, Squamish Area Supervisor, reported BC Parks had secured funding to plow the Rubble Creek road and upper parking lot for future winters.
Efforts to secure long-term funding to plow the road and parking lot started in mid-February 2020, after the Varsity Outdoors Club (VOC) encountered new “no parking / tow away” signs at the Rubble Creek access road, where people normally park in winter to access Garibaldi Lake. The VOC spearheaded efforts to find a solution, gaining public and media attention with their trailhead dig-out party, which saw about 50 volunteers shovel 20-24 parking spaces and a turn-around area. With support from the FMCBC, ACC-Whistler, ACC-Vancouver, Friends of Garibaldi Provincial Park and others, every opportunity was used (i.e., letters to the Minister and BC Parks, constituency meetings with MLAs, meetings with Park staff) to advocate for long-term funding to plow the access road and parking lot at Rubble Creek. In December 2020, shortly after the Premier issued his new mandate letter to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and the Parliamentary Secretary of the Environment, we received news that BC Parks had found one-time funding to plow the access road and upper parking lot for the 2020-2021 winter season. With the road and parking lot plowed, many visitors – hikers, snowshoers and backcountry skiers – accessed Garibaldi Lake last winter season. The latest announcement ensures the public can continue to enjoy Garibaldi Lake, the surrounding terrain, VOC’s Burton Hut and the popular Garibaldi Neve Traverse in future winter seasons.
Kudos to VOC, BC Parks staff and everyone involved in helping resolve this access issue!
Initiative to develop objectives for “Recreation” in the Forest and Range Practices Act
Recreation is part of the Forest and Range Practice Act (FRPA) framework and is one of eleven FRPA values for which the provincial government may set objectives under the Forest Planning and Practices Regulation. Unfortunately, recreation is the only value without a FRPA objective. Without declared objectives, forestry companies and other industrial licensees are not required to consider, consult or coordinate their activities on registered public trails or around the province’s public recreation resources on Crown Land.
Since one of ORCBC’s strategic priorities is enhanced protection for recreation values on public lands through changes to the FRPA, ORCBC and members sought support at the annual Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Convention for resolution EB42: Protection for Outdoor Recreation Opportunities. The District of Sicamous sponsored the resolution, developed by the BC Snowmobile Federation, which is a member organization of ORCBC. Resolution EB42 states in part:
And whereas the BC government has established broad Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) objectives under the Forest Planning and Practices Regulation for ten of the eleven FRPA values – they have not established an objective for recreation – which makes recreation the only value without a FRPA objective and leaves recreation out of planning processes,
And whereas only the BC government can set objectives within the Forest Range Practices Act,
Therefore be it resolved that UBCM ask the BC government to allocate the necessary resources to create the following objective under the Forest Planning and Practices Regulation Part 2 Division 1. The objective set by government for recreation is, without unduly reducing the supply of timber from British Columbia’s forests, to avoid or mitigate any adverse impacts to any recreation site, trail or facility that exists on Crown land.
On September 15, 2021, resolution EB42 was passed at the Convention. While the resolution is a preliminary step in the effort to establish a FRPA objective for recreation, passage of the resolution demonstrates the growing importance of outdoor recreation to regional communities and economies.
It should be noted that under FRPA, the Government Actions Regulation (GAR) directs how the provincial government establishes land designations and stewardship measures for the eleven resource values (sections 5 to 15 of GAR). It is the over-riding constraint in section 2(1)(a) of GAR, which prevents the minister from increasing areas in relation to non-timber resource values, such as recreation and wildlife, unless it “would not unduly reduce the supply of timber from British Columbia’s forests”. In July 2019, in response to the provincial government’s Discussion Paper titled, “Forest and Range Practices Act Improvement Initiative: Renewal and Resilience”, the FMCBC recommended removal of the over-riding constraint to give the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development greater flexibility to respond to the public’s increasing interests in the recreational value of our forests.
The FMCBC will continue to work with ORCBC and its members to gain enhanced protection for recreation values on Crown lands, including setting an objective for recreation under FRPA.