Dear Editor:

I know the good readers of the Pioneer must surely be tired of hearing the woes of the backcountry coalition, but the facts still arent straight. If youre interested, read on. If not, move to the next letter.

The actual grant application that went before the review board on April 4th, 2012 was obtained from the Regional District of East Kootenay. This application states that Wildsight was applying for the Lake Enid grant as a sponsor of the Columbia Valley Recreational Access Coalition (CVRAC).

I also obtained a press release from the regional district, dated June 13th, 2012. It lists the projects approved for funding, which includes Wildsight: Sponsoring Columbia Valley Responsible Use Coalition for $500 from Area G.

According to this documentation, the coalitions name was never removed from this grant application even though CVRAC members told Wildsight they wanted nothing to do with it. I have always found the regional district to be very accurate in their record keeping. Additionally, the CVRACs name could also have been used to solicit $27,000 in funding from the Kootenay Livestock Association, which is mentioned on this grant application.

The Wildsight development directors story about how the sequence of events unfolded is irrelevant. Its an attempt to divert attention from the real issue, which is that Wildsight took a list of names that was the January sign-in sheet for the CVRAC meeting and attached those names to a grant application that most people knew nothing about. Some members of the coalitions steering committee think this is OK; however, I wonder how they would feel about this scenario: what if they attended a meeting for the Kootenay Snowsports Society to see what our organization is about and subsequently found out we had used their names to support a grant application to obtain funding for ski racing equipment. Would they be OK with that?

Its not OK to use peoples names without first asking their permission. The Wildsight staffer stapling together that grant application knew most of us were unaware our names were being used. We all care about the environment, but isnt it possible to protect the environment while operating with some honesty and integrity?

Is it any wonder some of us are reluctant to negotiate access to our treasured recreational places through CVRAC when, as another writer pointed out, we already have institutions and processes in place that allow all people, as a society, to manage the backcountry which are directed by our elected representatives who are accountable to us?

Cheryl Willard , Kootenay Snowsports Society