Strathcona Park volunteers protest illegal camping fines

Jocelyn Doll/Campbell River Mirror Jennifer Pass, a long time volunteer with Friends of Strathcona Park, protested outside of the courthouse this morning while members of the Heathens Climbing Club were in court for charges of illegal camping.

Members of the Heathens Climbing Club as well as the Friends of Strathcona Park protested outside of the Campbell River courthouse this morning while their members were in court facing charges of illegal camping and up to $3,000 in fines.

Jennifer Pass, a volunteer with the Friends of Strathcona Park, said that the Heathens were camping in protest of a volunteer agreement they were required by BC Parks to sign.

“If they don’t sign the volunteer agreement then BC Parks said they weren’t allowed to be in the park,” she said. “They tried to hold a peaceful demonstration back in August and were charged with illegal camping.”

The club has been voluntarily maintaining trails and climbing area to Crest Crags in Strathcona Park since 1993, but were told they wouldn’t be allowed to continue their work unless they signed an agreement, which, according to Pass, they had no say in creating.

“I think we are losing our volunteers,” she said. “The people who are doing the work in the parks are the volunteers, not the bureaucrats and if the bureaucrats can’t work with the volunteers then our parks are going to fall apart…Let the volunteers do what they do well.”

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