I am an avid outdoors and nature lover and feel blessed to call Squamish home. I have raised four boys amongst our forests, lakes, rivers, and mountains.
They learned from an early age that we are guests in nature and to leave the outdoors as unchanged as possible by our presence. The “Leave No Trace” mantra was embedded in their young minds with constant reminders of “leave as you found it!”
This all came back to me cruelly as I walked through Coho Park recently. I was absolutely shocked to see the blatant lack of responsibility, respect, and appreciation of our trails brought about by a few adults.
There have been several illegal “improvements” made in Coho Park, including bridges made by chainsawing fallen trees, “bypass” trails made, relocation of native plants, and disturbing very sensitive salmon spawning habitat. Any and I mean even the smallest action that is to be undertaken on District property, must be completed by the appropriate authorities, be it the District, the DFO or other authorized agent. No other person has the right to disturb park property.
This is, simply put, the law. Local organizations spend countless hours maintaining these trails, adhering to the District bylaws and federal Fisheries Act.
Structures such as log bridges (again, made with a chainsaw) are a liability and must be authorized to ensure compliance and safety.
Rudimentary improvements such as holes and trenches, native plants removed and homemade signage has created damaged surroundings that take away from everyone’s experience. If every trail user thought to themselves “I’ll just make a new path or build a bridge,” a much more significant impact would result and in a very short time, there would be no Coho Park for anyone to enjoy.
To the District, I would venture to suggest that you are setting a very dangerous precedent here where a person may act first for their own satisfaction and plead ignorance later.
What are the ramifications and consequences to these parties that have done just that? Why on earth would these people be entitled to their own set of rules, whilst other responsible park users adhere to a very logical, environmental set of rules? We all must comply with the law, not make our own and we simply must limit the impact on our precious environment.
Editor’s note: The Chief received the following reply from the District about the issues raised here: “The District has been made aware of unauthorized work in the Coho Park area. The alleged alterations are currently under investigation and District staff will follow up with the complainant directly. Staff have already done work to remove plantings blocking a trail, remove a pump track being constructed within the riparian area, and remove landowner encroachment, all from District property.”