The Sea to Sky Gondola has given a wag of the tail to dogs.
This week, the company announced that dog owners will be allowed to hike with their dogs on-leash up to the gondola’s Summit Lodge, between Shannon Falls and the Stawamus Chief, and use the cabins to download with their four-legged companions after the gondola opens for business in May 2014.
“We are going to test it for a year and see how it goes,” gondola spokesperson Elyse Mailhot said.
The dog question has been at the top of many Squamish residents’ minds, she said. In response to the interest, gondola backers created the “Buster the Dog” pass. The annual ticket will costs $25, of which $15 will go toward the Squamish SPCA.
Dogs will only be allowed on the Sea to Summit Trail, but not on the facility’s other trails. They also won’t be permitted on the summit’s various bridges and platforms, she added.
“This policy will allow dogs to take their owners for a great hike to the summit, relax, have a drink and then download from the summit on the Sea to Sky Gondola,” Mailhot noted in an email.
The success of allowing dogs up to the gondola’s Summit Lodge will depend on dog owners, Squamish environmental activist John Buchanan said.
“The problem is it all boils down to dog ownership,” he said. “It is all about policing the dog owners.”
You never know what wildlife one may encounter in the bush, Buchanan noted. However, the Summit Trail doesn’t trek through sensitive habitat, he noted, adding environmental groups are focusing attention elsewhere.
The province is in the midst of a push to examine banning dogs from critical bird habitat in the Squamish Estuary, Buchanan said.
“It’s one of the important bird areas in Canada,” he said.
Dogs are allowed in some provincial parks. The Province requires them to be on leash in vehicle-accessible parks. However, they are not allowed in many backcountry parks, including Garibaldi Provincial Park.