Escalating pressure for developments on public lands continues to underline the urgency for the need of a Recreation Access Management Plan (RAMP). As a sitting member of the Columbia Valley RAMP group going back to 2011, Ive observed that participants come to the table with conflicting notions of what a RAMP should look like. Thats why ongoing dialogue is essential among all user groups.
However, some (like the B.C. Liberals who pulled their support of the Columbia Valley RAMP process a couple years ago) actually question the need for a regional plan. Recent arrivals from urban areas may be impressed by the apparent wildness of our mountains. But ask some of the old timers (like me) what it was like here 40, 30, or even 20 years ago. The double whammy of habitat loss and invasion of noisy, fast-moving vehicles has put untold pressure on flora, fish, fauna and landowners up and down the Trench.
Statistics compiled by the B.C. governments Conservation Data Centre inform us that, in the past dozen years, commercial and recreational disturbances in the Invermere area have wiped out wildlife to the extent that 22 species in the Invermere area have been added to the Species At Risk roster, and 27 new species are now red or blue listed.
In an effort to increase the awareness of whats at stake, I have assembled an online booklet with photos that show both the rampant desecration left behind by joyriders with knobby tires, and ongoing community efforts at cleanups of the perennial mess left by nature-lovers of all stripes.
A link to a time-lapse video reveals the shocking rate of forest fragmentation by resource access roads and logging cut blocks near Brisco since 1984. The booklet also includes deceptively simple backcountry etiquette of how to travel responsibly and respectfully by motorized and mechanized means.
The Whats At Stake? PDF can be viewed on the websites of the Lake Windermere District Rod & Gun Club (lwdrodgun.com/recreational-access-management-plan), Wildsight (wildsight.ca/whatsatstake) and the Alberta Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Facebook page.
In order to move toward sustainable recreation that puts nature first here, and across the province, one of the quickest fixes is to vote strategically for a new and better government May 9th.