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EDITORIAL: Welcome the eagles and the world

It's the most beautiful time of the year - if not the freshest-smelling - to be in Brackendale.

It's the most beautiful time of the year - if not the freshest-smelling - to be in Brackendale.

The spawned salmon rotting along the banks of streams and rivers through the Squamish Valley are bringing with them a strong source of civic pride to our community in the form of the bald eagle.

Wildlife enthusiasts of all stripes are enjoying the sights of the majestic raptors as eagle watching season begins - and before long, the world will once again be coming to Brackendale to share in the wonder.

That is, if we don't kill them while they're trying to cross the road.

You'd never know from the amenities we have that we're trying to attract tourists to watch bald eagles with us. The Eagle Run area itself is beautiful and the Eagle Watch interpretive program volunteers do a fantastic job year after year of being unofficial ambassadors for our community.

But they can't help people who either don't know where to stop or can't find a place to park - or if they do, it can't help them get across Government Road without taking their life into their hands.

If we really want to establish this community as friendly to rubber-tire eco-watchers, upgrading the Eagle Run area has to be a top priority. More parking and a controlled pedestrian crossing at the Eagle Run would be a nice start - and as for the cost, it would hardly put a dent in that $200,000 in traffic fine money that Gordon Campbell just handed over to the District.

It doesn't have to cost anything to improve the parking situation, in fact; there's plenty of underused parking right across from the Eagle Run. In last week's Chief we reported that the District of Squamish is looking for ways to get more and better community use out of the Easter Seal Camp Squamish in exchange for its exemption from property taxes. Opening up the Easter Seal Camp parking lot for eagle watchers is a no-cost, no-brainer solution.

There are other opportunities here for local businesses to help promote our natural wonders and themselves at the same time while easing the parking crunch at the Eagle Run. The first shopping centre to offer free eagle-watching shuttle buses to the Eagle Run throughout the day - bringing them back to their establishments, of course - will do very well for itself.

Let's welcome the eagles and the world in the right way this year.

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