ACCESS NEWS - December 11th, 2006
Much has been happening, and we finally have some news.
1. Braesyde Parking - Closure and Sale
The public parking lot at Braesyde has been closed permanently, effective November 1st 2006. The property is owned by the Dunlop family, and is being sold. The sale is subject to conditions, but should take effect in mid-April 2007. One can never know, but it is most prudent to assume that the sale will go through, and that alternative parking and access must be found.
The Dunlops have generously provided public parking at Braesyde since 1992, although it has required much work and some inconvenience. Their reward has been modest, given the related expenses, and the value of the property. The climbing community owes the Dunlops a vote of gratitude for their hospitality, and thanks to the city of Penticton and the Agricultural Land Commission for permitting the parking.
Skaha now has about 20,000 public visitors each year, with a substantial spin-off contribution to the area's culture and economy. Skaha may eventually become a provincial park, for both its natural and recreational values. Since the early 1990s, Skaha rockclimbers and the Access Society have put thousands of hours into looking after the area and working on access to it, and spent perhaps $40,000, half cash and half donated materials and services, on needed projects there - toilets, trails, signs and such. Plus the thousands of hours and dollars spent by many climbers on creating new routes.
2. Skaha Rockclimbers
Penticton-area climbers have organized to work on this issue. Key individuals include Howie Richardson, Hugh Lenney, Drew Fullerton, Russ Turner and Sean Dougherty, but the group is inclusive. If you're a climber living in the area, and can help, let them know. The group has prepared a report summarizing all the access options, their pros and cons, and what would be needed to implement each. (There are many possible permutations.) They met with Penticton council and guests on November 30th. They've contacted a variety of other stakeholders and interested parties, including The Land Conservancy of B.C. and Mountain Equipment Co-op.
An interim solution may be possible, but a long-term or permanent solution is likely to take time, effort and money. It is also likely to involve carefully balancing the interests of several parties. Things like subdivision, surveying, and government approvals take time, even once a strategy is developed.
3. The Land Conservancy
It has been agreed that the Land Conservancy of British Columbia (www.conservancy.bc.ca) will be leading representation on this issue, with advice, information, resources, and backing from the climbing community. It brings to bear considerable resources and experience at addressing issues of this kind, and putting together multi-party solutions. TLC, with help from Mountain Equipment Co-op and the Access Society, acquired the Stawamus Chief gravel lot (aka gondola base) in 2005, a great help to us. They have been working on another project that would benefit the climbing community, but for now Skaha is the priority.
4. Information & Updates
There is more information at www.skaha.org, and updates will be posted there. The Access Society will send periodic broadcast e-newsletters, with information as it becomes public. They go to about 1,100 individuals and organizations - please forward them to all your climbing friends! The Access Society plans to implement its website upgrade in the near future, another place to watch.
5. Donations Needed!
Whatever happens, planning and implementing any solution will require substantial resources. It seems likely that we'll need to help purchase property, or at least a right-of-way, and perhaps invest in needed facilities. And all the related costs. We need to start raising money, now. Early and substantial public donations make it easier to solicit corporate support. Please donate to The Land Conservancy of British Columbia - 2709 Shoreline Drive, Victoria, B.C., Canada V9B 1M5, (250) 479-8053, or www.conservancy.bc.ca. Mark your donation "Skaha Access". If you donate by December 31st, your receipt will help with your taxes early in 2007 - a tax credit, and all going well an access credit too! (Donors will be issued a Canadian tax receipt. If you are a resident of the U.S.A., and want to donate, contact TLC.)
6. What Can You Do?
If you live in the Penticton area, get involved.
Make a seasonal donation to TLC, and encourage your friends to also do so.
Become a member of TLC, and of the Access Society. Larger membership + more resources = more effective.
If you can help with fundraising, or have ideas or connections that may help, contact TLC or us.
Make sure all your climbing friends know what's happening.
If a letter-writing campaign is needed, we'll send all the necessary information. Likewise, if there is a public meeting that should be attended, we'll let you know.
It is not long until the spring climbing season, and it is possible that no solution will be in place by then. If so, please be patient. There is no current alternate, legal surface access to Skaha - all other routes involve trespassing on private property, illegal parking, or both.
B. CLIMBERS' ORGANIZATIONS IN B.C.
Greater Victoria Climbers Association - no website, but see www.islandclimbing.com
Skaha Rockclimbers - www.skaha.org
Varsity Outdoor Club (U.B.C.) - www.ubc-voc.com
Alpine Club of Canada (various sections, including Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Prince George, Okanagan, and Whistler) - www.alpineclubofcanada.ca
Federation of Mountain Clubs of B.C. - www.mountainclubs.bc.ca
Squamish Access Society - www.squamishaccess.ca
The Heathens (Campbell River) - no website, but see www.islandclimbing.com
Kootenay Mountaineering Club - www.kootenaymountaineering.bc.ca
Columbia Valley Climbers Association (Golden area) - no website
British Columbia Mountaineering Club (southwest B.C.) - www.bcmc.ca
All these groups at least at times work on, or help with, access issues in B.C. Some are new, some have existed for a century. Some are large, some not. We are fortunate to have such a diversity of groups, and encourage you to support them. The Access Society has at one time or other worked with most of these groups, providing resources, help, advice, and backing as needed. Projects during 2006 included a grant of $500 to The Heathens, to support their ongoing work at Crest Crags, and jointly organizing Adopt-a-Crag volunteer events with The Heathens (Crest Crags), Greater Victoria Climbers Association (Fleming Beach), Conroy Creek/Cheakamus Canyon (Squamish Access Society), Skaha (Skaha Rockclimbers), Stawamus Chief/Little Smoke Bluffs (Squamish Access Society), and others. The Squamish Access Society was a partner in the 2006 Squamish Climbers Festival, and was recently sent a share of the proceeds, to support its work on projects in the Squamish area. We also worked with many of these groups on advocacy issues during the year. (Apologies if we've forgotten anyone. And, of course, not to forget our many corporate partners and sponsors.)
Other useful groups and websites:
Climbers Access Society of Alberta - http://climbersaccess.ab.ca
Washington Climbers Coalition - www.washingtonclimbers.org
Access Fund - www.accessfund.org
Vancouver Island Climbing - www.islandclimbing.com
Squamish Climbing - www.squamishclimbing.com
Gripped - www.gripped.com
Cascade Climbers - www.cascadeclimbers.com
1. Little Smoke Bluffs
The Smoke Bluffs Park Development Plan was endorsed by Squamish council on December 5th. The plan took a lot of hard work by a stakeholder committee over the last two years, and sets goals for the park, and how it will be managed. The plan specifically recognizes rock climbing, and protection of rock climbing and rock climbing features, as key purposes. Land owned by the Federation of Mountain Clubs of B.C. will become part of the park, with appropriate protective covenants. (The land was acquired in 1986, and is central to the park.)
Council will in the near future decide the exact nature of the body that will be appointed to manage the park, both for creation of a master plan, and ongoing management. The group will be made up of one person appointed by each of the Squamish Trails Society, the Howe Sound Trials Riders Association, the Squamish Access Society, the Access Society, and the Federation of Mountain Clubs of B.C., and four at-large members, at least two of whom must be Squamish residents and climbers. Ex-officio members may include the mayor, one councillor, and the District's Chief Administrative Officer, Director of Recreation Parks & Tourism, and Manager of Operations. Some governance details are still being worked on.
We welcome this step, which comes after twenty years of hard work, and thank the District of Squamish for its support. Much has been done at the park over the last few years, and more needed trail work and other improvements are planned.
If you are interested in being a member of the committee/commission, it will be advertised in the Squamish Chief, and perhaps the District's website. Please contact the Access Society, or any of the parties, for more information or to discuss what would be involved.
A related initiative is that the District is considering creation of an overall climbing strategy for the Squamish area.
2. Sea-to-Sky Highway Project
See www.seatoskyhighwayimprovements.ca for information on work and closures.
1. Canadian Maps
Natural Resources Canada has rescinded its decision to discontinue printing paper topographic maps, and close the Canada Map Office, in January 2007. Thanks to all who wrote the federal government about this! See www.mapsforcanadians.ca
2. New Directors
Lisa Rae and Dan Mack have stepped down as directors of the Access Society, due to increased family commitments. Lisa has been a director since 1999, and Dan has been a director for almost the whole time since the Access Society was founded in 1995. Thank you to both for faithful and steady service, and all your help!
Jason Kruk (Squamish & Vancouver), Drew Fullerton (Okanagan Falls) and Peter Winter (Squamish) are our new directors. We still have one vacancy, for a keen volunteer.
3. Bookkeeper Needed
The Access Society needs a bookkeeper. The work will involve reviewing the established accounts, amending them as needed, entering revenue and expenses, and producing statements as required. The usual. There are about 500 entries/year, and good records. A standard program will be used. Set-up may involve 20 - 30 hours, and then perhaps a few hours a month ongoing. We can afford some remuneration for this work. If you're qualified, experienced and interested, please contact us at (604) 228-1798 of info(at)access-society.ca.
4. Mountaineers' Soiree (December 16th)
The Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and Arc'Teryx are presenting this event, at Myrtle Phillip School in Whistler. It includes a silent auction (7:00 PM), followed by a presentation at 8:00 PM by British alpinist Ian Parnell, on Photography from the Front Line - climbing from the Cairngorms to the Himalaya. And some socializing! Tickets $10 in advance (Escape Route in Whistler, or Valhalla Pure in Squamish), $12 at the door. Half the proceeds to the Brian Ebert Memorial Scholarship Fund (www.brianebertfund.com), half to Sea-to-Sky alpine access projects. More at (604) 938-3825 or roger(at)brianebertfund.com.
5. Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival (February 16th - 25th, 2007)
The 10th anniversary VIMFF is coming soon. They're looking for volunteers to help with all aspects of the event. If you can help, contact (604) 990-1505 or alan(at)vimff.org.
6. Climbers Access Society of Alberta
This new group was founded earlier in 2006, with similar goals to the Access Society. Congratulations! See http://climbersaccess.ab.ca for more. A similar group is getting organized in Ontario. The Access Society has provided advice to both groups.
7. Squamish Climbers Festival - 2007
Planning is under way for this event, which will be on July 13th - 22nd. It will include a volunteer day, social events (speakers, parties, breakfasts, yoga), fundraising, clinics, a competition, and other fun. And that's just the first weekend! The second weekend will be a mountain film festival, with speakers and movies, and there'll be events throughout the week. Title sponsor is Arc'Teryx, and partners include the Squamish Film Society and the Squamish Access Society.
8. Donations - 2006
Thank you!: Perry Beckham, Marcus Dell, Sheila Broughton & Dave Lane, Ben Waller, Trish Fodor & Lindsay Eltis, Christy Beever, Martina Metzler, John Brodie, Rick LeDuc, Judith Joseph, Elizabeth Grant, Sandy Briggs, Chris Wood, David McKie, Vince Beasse, Claude Tani, Jonathan Fisher, Martina Slezkova, Dan Mack, Gary Kolberg, James Fraser, Cameron Long, Wendy Holmes & Dave Morriss, Ahren Rankin, Chris Barner, Metolius Mountain Products, Greg Diamond, Kelly Zibrik, Jim Brennan, Peter Norris, Matthew Breakey, Andrew Berkley, Dean Williams, Black Diamond, Neil Bennett, Cliffhanger Coquitlam, Cliffhanger Vancouver, Rolf Rybak, Theresa Negreiff, Megan Rowlatt & David Clendenan, J. Bonnell, Jeff Hunston, Eamonn Deegan, Graham Rowbotham, LeRoy Russ, Helen Habgood & Ed Fischer, Bob Koen, Corina Acheson, Dale Mernett, Charlie Harrison, Joie Seagram & Dave Jones, and Judi Ekkert. (Apologies for any inadvertent omissions. Tax receipts will be sent by February 2007. The list does not include the many corporate partners who provided project grants, or event sponsorships.)
9. Thank Yous - Volunteers
Far too many to list here, but including all volunteers and organizers, the local climber organizations all around B.C. that we work with, our directors and officers, those who represent us in various issues, and so on. You know who you are - we couldn’t do it without you.
10. On-Line Memberships, Renewals & Donations
You can now join the Access Society on-line, renew your membership, or make a donation. Go to www.access-society.ca/getinvolved/membership.aspx, complete the form, and pay via PayPal. (Credit card needed, and donations also welcome.)
11. Rock Climbing & Arthritis
A recent study reported on the CBC suggests that climbers are not at increased risk of developing osteoarthritis, when compared to non-climbers: www.cbc.ca/cp/HealthScout/061110/6111018U.html
The Access Society has 362 current members - 31 corporate, 10 club, 16 student, 157 regular, and 74 family (= 148).
The Access Society faces many challenges in our pursuit of public access to B.C.'s cliffs and mountains, and conservation of them. Please support the Access Society in any way you can - become a member, make a donation, or volunteer! We believe the Access Society is doing an important job. It represents all those who cherish B.C.’s cliffs and mountains.
We hope this message is useful, and encourage you to share, post and forward it. Our apologies if it is unwanted! If so, please let us know and we'll remove you from our list. If your e-mail has changed, please let us know. (In a few cases this message is a duplicate, due to overlapping directories.) Also, we welcome information and contributions - please send to info(at)access-society.ca.
Climbing and related activities are dangerous, and can injure or kill you. The Access Society tries to ensure that this information is accurate, but you rely on it at your own risk!
copyright (c) Climbers' Access Society of British Columbia, 2006.
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