One wonders if the Friends of Strathcona Park have really had time to meet John (the cowboy), who manages the Western Wilderness Resort, before embarking on their alternative trail initiative.
Firstly the roughing in of an alternative trail to cut western wilderness resort out of the picture only disturbs more wildlife and fauna. Secondly John and company would be a great asset to the group and its maintenance of the trail.
He is well know it Tofino as a supporter of environmental issues in Clayoquot Sound, and has devoted time and much money into helping save the wild salmon. He is a friend, not an enemy of the wild lands. A face to face meeting with him would be at least polite and probably a very positive step forward for the friends of the park.
I marched across Vancouver island from the Bedwell to Comox Lake in 1969, as part of an elite armed forces unit’s introduction to West Coast terrain. Clearly there are many dangerous and challenging spots along the crossing. Any initial trail maintenance and emergency stations along the Bedwell end should be much welcomed, not poo poohed: They may well save lives.
Finally, horses managed by the “cowboy” will be as natural an event as plodding humans with their accoutrements.
Impact will be in keeping with all guidelines set for people, and parks can monitor the permits to everyone’s’ satisfaction. Western Wilderness Resort is a highly responsible and sensitive enterprise bringing much needed exposure to our lovely island’s interior and thus aiding the safekeeping of its beauty internationally.
More talk, understanding, and good intentions would have gone a long way further than the current direction of alienating parks and the resort and many people who know the area.
I say to parks, grant the permit and encourage the friends of the park to join hands as friends with John, rather than embarking on this short sighted and conflict-ridden ideological stance.