President’s Message Fall/Winter 2022

Jay MacArthur

It is with deep sadness that I let you know that Jay MacArthur passed away over Thanksgiving weekend. We have much to be thankful to Jay for, not least of which was his energetic and enthusiastic service to the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC.

I have known Jay for seven years while both of us were involved with non-motorized trails in BC. Jay, through his work with the Alpine Club of Canada (Vancouver) and Director of the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC; and, I, as former President of the Outdoor Club of Victoria, President of Vancouver Island Trail Association and President of the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC.

Jay’s love for climbing led him to explore the Coast Range and advocate for protection of, and public access to, our wilderness. Jay introduced many to our mountains through trips, climbing camps and skill workshops to develop their competencies. Jay’s passion for the Chilcotin started in the 1980s, when mountaineering ventures took him to Chilko Lake. In 1991, Jay joined the Chilko Lake Study Team to develop land use recommendations for Chilko Lake. After two years of gathering information and negotiations, the Team produced a consensus report, recommending protection for much of the area. In 1994, Ts’ilʔos Provincial Park was declared. The Team received the Minister of Environment award in 1994 for their contributions.

In 1979, Dennis Perry and Jay formed the South Chilcotin Mountains Wilderness Society to protect the expansive Southern Chilcotin-Spruce Lake Wilderness. Through lengthy processes, significant portions were protected. The northern half became part of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Commission on Resources and the Environment (CORE) negotiations in the early 1990s. Jay represented the Society and the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC in the CORE process. Big Creek Provincial Park was created in 1995 at the completion of the process. The southern half became a central issue in the Lillooet Land and Resource Management Plan (Lillooet LRMP). For over 5 years, Jay represented the Federation at the Lillooet LRMP Table of stakeholders. Unable to reach consensus, the LRMP Table presented two options to the government. In 2001, the government selected the option leading to the creation of Spruce Lake Protected Area, which became South Chilcotin Mountains Provincial Park. During the park management planning process, Jay advocated for protection of the park’s intrinsic wilderness values and measures to mitigate conflicts among recreation users.

Jay has worked tirelessly to improve access to wilderness recreation opportunities, particularly in heavily populated southwest BC. Projects include obtaining federal funds to construct the popular Howe Sound Crest Trail (Cypress Provincial Park), efforts to restore access to Singing Pass (Garibaldi Provincial Park) via a new access trail and bridge; advocating for more resources for BC Parks; and auditing trails in provincial parks to prioritize repairs. Jay’s efforts to restore access to Singing Pass and protect the Chilcotin reflect Jay’s commitment to building relationships and engaging respectfully with volunteers, First Nations, civil servants, elected representatives and commercial and resource interests.
Even after his terminal cancer diagnosis in October 2021, Jay continued his advocacy efforts. He created BC Trail Tracker, a trail database to collect trail condition reports from the public to help volunteers focus on repairs and identify trail champions.
Since the 1970s, Jay has shared his love of BC’s mountains by leading climbing and ski touring trips. He has introduced people to BC’s wilderness to learn about and value their natural heritage. He has also taught essential skills to allow others to safely explore BC’s wilderness.
In recognition of his service, Jay received the Alpine Club of Canada’s Distinguished Service Award (2001) and Silver Rope Leadership Award (2021); the Tim Jones Community Service Award and Honorary Membership in the BC Mountaineering Club (2022). I’m sure there will be more awards for Jay, to be presented posthumously.

Should anyone wish to make a donation in his name, Jay’s family asks that it be made to the Alpine Club of Canada, Lions Gate Hospital Foundation or the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC.

Please join me in extending our sincere condolences to Jay’s wife Lucy and his family. Thank you for sharing this incredible man with us. Jay, you will be missed.

Liz Bicknell
FMCBC President

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