Let's start off by saying that I would not normally write to a newspaper but this issue has got to be brought out in the open.
For about eight years I was the trail maintenance director for the Squamish Off Road Cycling Association (SORCA). Part of that job was to act as liason between the local Forestry Office and SORCA. We have always had a good working relationship and have never complained about the impact that logging has had on our trails.
We understand that people have to make a living. As a matter of fact we have gone out of our way to try to inform riders about the areas being worked on, time frames for the work, posted keep out information on our web site etc.
So what has me ticked off enough to write to the editor? We have recently been informed that there are plans to log what is one of the most important trails in our system. The Powerhouse Plunge is not only one of the most unique trails in North America but it is a key component in the Test Of Metal.
So when I talked to Guy Freed at Forestry (in Chilliwack - yes, most of the decisions affecting our forest district are now made in Chilliwack) and asked why this one area could not be left alone, I was told that decent timber is so rare that to meet their quota they had to cut this block. Stunned silence on my part.
What we are being told is that because of the mismanagement of past forestry practices that we, the recreational users of our own land, should have to pay the price today. Sorry, but that doesn't wash with me.
We are going to fight for this cut to be stopped. Now I don't think that we are asking for too much here. After all it's probably not much bigger than the area of Stanley Park. Not so much in such a big province, eh?
So, let's take a look at the economics of this. The proposed cut has a value of approximately $2 million.
Maybe eight or 10 jobs for three months or so? The Test of Metal and mountain biking contribute several million to Squamish's economy annually.
Should we allow a myopic government policy and decisions made outside of Squamish to ruin one of the real bright spots in Squamish's future? I think not!
It's time to make some noise and have our voices heard. Give Guy Freed a call at (604) 702-5738, give Forestry Minister Michael de Jong a call at (250) 387-6240. Call the mayor. E-mail your MLA. In short, make it known that we're not going to take this one lying down.
In closing I would like to make it very clear that this is not an anti-logging issue.
This is an anti-stupidity issue and I hope that you will join us in our fight to Save the Plunge.