Dear Editor:

Thank you to The Pioneer for printing the article on the ongoing trail maintenance issues within Kooteny National Park (Unauthorized trail builder faces charges in the August 19th Pioneer). It has generated a lot of interest and concerns and discussion about the long-standing lack of maintenance within the National Park systems. Long-standing meaning at least four decades of neglect; lack of maintenance to the point that some locations are close to simply being dangerous to the well-being of a hikers limbs. The four-foot wide path built initially has generally deteriorated to an overgrown goat path of an 18-inch width.

CBC contacted me through The Pioneer article and conducted a long interview, some of which was aired on the CBC the morning of August 23rd, 2016. From that interview and the article, I have had further direct contact from others wanting to sign the petition and to host the same in their particular areas.

These trails in the Rockies and specifically Kooteny National Park have been neglected and degraded far below National Parks own trail specifications.

Towards my defense against the ticket Parks wardens issued in April, I have requested the Trail Specifications for the parks and was denied by the trails and management supervisors within Parks. I have had to apply through the Freedom of Information Access process. From what I have been told, they might have a response in early September. I applied in May of this year.

Parks Canada is able to spend multiple millions of dollars towards fencing on our highways. They are willing to spend $60 million for a paved bicycle path from Jasper to Lake Louise, but not $1 million to fix all the trails within the systems back to their own trail specifications.

And this is wrong, both morally, ethically and possibly legally. And that is why I have taken it upon myself to volunteer my time and efforts to right a systemic wrong within our Parks. That is why I have spent the amount of time and effort over the last three years to improve trails for hikers of Canada in our National Parks System. It is my Give Back. And they give me a ticket?

I am looking for like-minded concerned folks to host this petition calling on the Minister of Environment to expedite, speed up and actually get to work on our trail systems within the Western Region of our National Parks.

Kootenay-Columbia MP and NDP National Parks Critic Wayne Stetski has agreed to present at the next sitting the entire petition to the Minister in Ottawa with accompanying letters and photos.

Folks can contact me through my email address here in Radium Hot Springs davidpacey09@gmail.com and I will be more than willing and pleased to forward the three-page document of signatures for presentation.

Thanks to The Pioneer for making this more public. We have known for years that things are not right in our National Parks. Now many more do as well.

Sincerely,

David R. Pacey

Radium Hot Springs