I was hiking the area between the Welcome to Squamish sign just North of Britannia Beach up towards the West ridge of what is known as the Valley of Shaddai; I was looking to establish a new motorcycle trials trail linking Britannia Beach to the ridge as we already have a trail in the South end of the Valley going up to the top of the ridge. I knew of the existence of climbing activity in the area and followed a fairly well established trail up to what I think may be the "Who's the Boss" wall. It was when I saw this wall and the mini logging operation that had occurred that I decided to start a discussion about what should be considered responsible route development.
Many trees were cut, some older than a hundred years, and I could find no stumps up against the wall, which I may be able to understand if one decided a tree was in the way of a preferred route. The wall was all shiny and clean, but the forest was left to look like a log sort or small patch of a commercial logging cut-block; this was very disheartening to me as anyone who has ever taken the time to venture into those draws and valleys knows the magical feeling that is there.
In addition to this, there are ways to open up the walls to the light that are much more sustainable and can provide valuable habitat to birds and other animals that live or travel through the area. Trees can be limbed and they can be topped, both practices which any biologist or arborist will tell you are infinitely better than cutting the tree down at the ground.
Over the past 25 years I have seen this activity happen in the Smoke Bluffs, Crumpet Woods, and under Slhanay, and it never ceases to amaze me that it doesn't appear to be challenged as an out of date way to open up new routes. And the argument that the logging companies, power companies, and housing developments are causing a way bigger problem, and that our few trees does not make a difference is no excuse to contribute to the destruction being wracked upon our natural environment.
In a time when actions are being considered, petitions signed, and there being a general backlash against traditional resource logging activities - because it spoils the views - it strikes me as strange that route development continues in this fashion.
I can post photos if necessary, and if the individual(s) want to retrieve the gear that was left at the site, they may do so at the offices of the Ministry of Forests - Recreation Sites and Trails on Loggers Lane in Squamish.
I welcome comments
So from these two replies it would appear that the issue that I brought up is not up for discussion because it came from someone who rides a trials motorcycle......attacking the credibility of the messenger is something that is usually done by people with no defensible argument.
1. we live in a rain forest it is literally a jungle. If you look at photos of the chief for example from the 50's vs now the amount of tree growth is 10 fold. The amount of natural re-gen in our areas is nothing sort of amazing.
2. I don't know what a motorcycle trials trail looks like but I will tell you that our rainforest roots are very delicate (they are normally near the topsoil and not deep). Running heavy items over these root systems for extended periods of time will often cause root rot and or tree decay. This could be more damaging in the long run than actually cutting trees near the trail down.
I grew up doing selective logging up north and have quite a bit of first hand experience with working in our forests...
I have no idea what the area you saw looks like as far as damage but I have been climbing for 15 years in Squamish and can tell you that areas that have been aggressively "trimmed" 7 yrs ago now look like a park and the walls are being overgrown again.
I agree we shouldn't napalm our areas for the sake of less moss but cutting down a few trees near cliff faces is not going to impact the visual nor the flora for long.
Speaking only for myself, you are reading far too much into my comment, which was directed at Jesse as a correction. Loggers get all sentimental at the smell of two stroke, not the trials bikers. Personally i think your observations ( the original) were vailid and relevant and really i can't add much to it, but I think Dakine lays out the difficult balancing act between chainsaw masacre and garden trim. Also as he points out time and regeneration of foliage and moss usually holds the advantage and even the worst messes wind up looking much better within a couple of years. Case in point is Barley's last big effort in the Smoke Bluffs, the horrendous eyesore he perpetrated between Climb and punishment and Werewolves of London of a few years ago wound up looking bearably tolerable after a couple of years of regen.... up until BC Hydro latest work anyway.So from these two replies it would appear that the issue that I brought up is not up for discussion because it came from someone who rides a trials motorcycle......attacking the credibility of the messenger is something that is usually done by people with no defensible argument.
I personally think the standard of "tidying up your mess" has risen in recent years but its hard to say how gentrified the neighborhood should get and we do have a pretty long standing tradition of stumps around here after all. My only complaint is that I wish that the stumps all got cut flush to the ground more often, and that more park benches and reliner rockers were manufactured out of the good stuff, for better comfortized belaying. Preferably recumbant.
The Sea to Sky area, and Squamish in particular is going through a rather mad boom in users on the landscape, and for all of us out there - no matter which recreational pursuit we enjoy - the practice of continual improvement in the way that we develop and utilize the natural environment should be front and centre. The idea that we can develop areas using the same practices that were in place over the past decades is foolhardy.
As always, you input is welcome and valued.
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