Dear Editor:

It is unfortunate that Joseph Hildes cant understand and accept that there may be people living in the valley who hold opinions which differ from his own. Given that he put several questions forward, I thought it may be helpful to offer some answers.

1) Why all the fuss with the Columbia Valley Recreational Access Coalition (CVRAC)?

A fundamental pillar of democratic society is that we agree to accept the decisions made by governments elected by a majority of our citizens.

The CVRAC are not an elected group, and it is reasonable to assume that there are people in the valley who do not share the well-intentioned views of these like-minded people.

2) Who are Kootenay Snow Sports Society (KSSS)?

KSSS is a group of individuals who came together to discuss and communicate their views. As such, they hold the same rights to express opinions as Wildsight or any other independent group. I would add that Ms. Willard should consider changing their groups name to Kootenay Ice & Snow Sports Society (it makes a great acronym).

3) Why should journalists be allowed to attend CVRAC meetings?

Open access and transparency are important aspects of any public process. As odd as it may seem, there are many of us who believe that any group seeking to proclaim itself as speaking for the majority should be happy to engage the media to ensure that all opinions and views are considered. By all means, CVRAC has the right to bar journalists, but lets then recognize the group for what it represents special interests.

4) Should it be a surprise that people dont want the media in the room?

Speaking for myself, Id suggest that the majority of people who dont want the media at the CVRAC meetings are the people in the CVRAC meetings. Kelsey Verboom should be commended for the diligence and fairness that she brought to this and all other matters she reported on in the valley.

5) Pat Morrows use of the term jackass.

I dont know what Mr. Morrows true intent was in using the phrase. I suspect, though, that the work of CVRAC is targeted at restricting the behaviour of more than just people who deliberately and knowingly go off trail to leave tracks in ecologically sensitive areas. I would suggest that someone who claims to know with certainty what another is thinking and doing is, well, a donkey.

The backcountry is a shared resource. We have institutions and processes in place that allow all people, as a society, to manage it. Respecting the views of others is a good first step towards ensuring we are all able to continue to enjoy the valleys resources for generations to come.

Jamie Fisher, Windermere