Dear Editor,

I feel compelled to write this letter as I am weary of reading anti Barbour Rock sentiments that echoes the same points repeatedly; concern for environmental protection, that there are enough sanctioned/managed trails in the valley and generally that biking is not compatible with hiking.

First of all whether you are for or against the project please start calling it what it is, a multi-use trail network. Though the project is being spearheaded by Columbia Valley Cycling Society (CVCS), there are no designated bike only trails in the planned network with the majority for hiking/biking/equestrian use. And second, I trust that everyone opposed to the proposed trail network took the time to attend one of two open houses hosted by CVCS on January 20th and 21st. With one at 6-9 p.m. and one at 1-3 p.m. it seems like CVCS really made the effort to work with any persons schedule. At the open house, not only were there poster size displays and maps addressing submitted concerns and modifications to the design concept to accommodate them, details on wildlife and environmental assessments and complete copies of proposal documents as well as trail building and maintenance manuals, but an abundance of CVCS members to answer questions and walk you through the presentation materials. If you did not make the effort to attend this event to, please stop writing letters.

Im sure it could and will be argued that I have a certain bias on this issue as I own a business that depends on the outdoor recreation opportunities of the Upper Columbia Valley, but in my opinion its hard to deny the Upper Columbia Valley has been left behind as a destination for outdoor recreation enthusiasts when compared with nearby areas such as Golden, Kimberley and Fernie. While this doesnt appear to be negative to those who have written letters speaking out against the multi-use trail network, a prosperous future for the area will only come from development as an outdoor recreation destination and not just a place to own a relatively affordable recreational residence or retire. That said, it should be done responsibly with planning and management. Balancing outdoor recreational interests, environmental stewardship and local character can make our area a world class destination we are all proud of and benefit from, if we work together with open minds.

Phil Gorman

Radium Hot Springs