Despite the fact the The Chief has been running a regular column on trails for the last two years, for the second time in weeks, some people in Squamish have questioned why we publish these articles.
So let’s clear that up right now.
The answer is this: the person who has been writing these columns is a representative of the Squamish Trails Society who has been collaborating with The Chief.
The Squamish Trails Society is responsible for the creation and/or maintenance of a great many of the trails here in town. Since we wouldn’t be able to access many of these areas in the first place if it weren’t for their work, it stands to reason that the society should be allowed to determine if they wish to publicize them. They are the ones who maintain trails. They should be allowed to decide if they want to share their work or not.
Of course, there will be some people who will undoubtedly think, ‘Hey, there wasn’t a trails society when I was growing up! We didn’t need anyone to make trails for us!’
In response to that, yes, perhaps there wasn’t a formal trails society, but chances are, if you ever went in the backcountry, you probably used a path that was built by someone else. The reality is paths, trails, dirt roads and other means to access the backcountry don’t just magically appear.
Someone has to make them.
It’s a tradition that goes back a long way, longer than most of us here have even been alive — whether we’re Squamish ‘old-timers’ or not.
The Chief reported in one of its 2014 stories about Brian Moorhead — who is widely recognized as a master trail builder here in town — that the tradition of trail building has existed in Squamish at least as long as European immigrants have been coming to this area.
So again, whether you know it or not, every time you access the backcountry, you’re enjoying someone else’s work — and this is usually without paying a dime.
The people who build and maintain those trails should be the ones to decide how much publicity they receive.
Since members of the Squamish Trails Society now have stewardship over these paths, we should respect their wishes if they want to tell others about their work or not. The Chief has decided, along with our trails columnist, that it’s better people learn about Squamish trails through a well-written article that includes trail etiquette and safety rules, as opposed to an Instagram post.
Either way, in this age of social media, they will find out.