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The Squamish Access Society is dedicated to working on behalf of climbers to protect public access to the climbing areas of the greater Squamish region, to engage as responsible stewards of the climbing environment and to advocate for access to quality self-propelled recreation. We work together with other access groups in “on the ground” initiatives and in engaging with local and provincial government and the private sector on behalf of climbers. Our work encompasses all the major climbing disciplines.

The Squamish Access Society is a grass-roots, local climbers’ organization dedicated to preserving access to the climbing areas in and around Squamish. We work together with other access groups in “on the ground” initiatives and in engaging with local and provincial government and the private sector on behalf of climbers.

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Hi All:
As many of you know SAS and several representatives of the hiking/climbing community met with BCTS representatives July 22 to discuss Olesen Creek logging plans (SW 144) and some additional forestry issues. SAS's viewpoint on this discussion is that this was a highly productive meeting with BCTS making some substantial concessions with regards to this block and in the drainage given the multiple user constraints and pressures (other recreational users, First Nations, BCTS' mandate as the determinant for stumpage etc.) BCTS is under in the Sea to Sky Forest District. The complexity of these pressures and constraints on BCTS indicated that the diversion to other areas or a complete moratorium on logging in the Olesen creek drainage by BCTS is unrealistic. Based on this realization, a strategy of impact mitigation seemed more realistic and based on this proceeded to negotiate for the following changes to SW144 which SAS believes will greatly mitigate recreational impacts (see attached map) www.dropbox.com/s/0mlvjkgs9e5mp ... 0.31-3.jpg):

1. The Northern portion of the block directly adjacent to the park boundary is to removed from the block (green and yellow areas on map). This area is basically from the "Back door" (identified in Barley's Squamassif Guide) westward. The area removed includes the crag Winter Heat and the saddle trails between the Slhanny and the Chief and preserves the primary recreational resources at risk. The effect of this removal is to preserve the view from Tony's Bench and very substantially reduce visual impacts of this block from the 3rd peak of the chief (about 90%).
2. Southern block boundary is to be pulled approximately 75m away from the trail to The Longhouse to buffer impacts on this trail and to the forest in and around "the Chasm" slot canyon. An approximately 200m buffer is to be maintained on the Longhouse.
3. Additional group retention patches are going to be laid out in the remaining southern portion to further mitigate visual impacts from the 3rd peak. The main criteria for this layout is to be timber windfirmness and visual impact reduction. We suggested that a portion of the area of "Boulders" between GPS stations 39 -41 and streams K and N be a possible retention area due to reduced logging operability. A retention patch in this area would further reduce impacts to longhouse trail.
4. The potential of including the triangle area from the SE corner of the Chief park to the Southern boundary as a forest recreation area was also indicated to be a possibility. SAS is determining what the potential implications of this designation are.

BCTS is going to implement these changes on the ground in the next month and then provide maps for review and stakeholder comments.

Other issues discussed:

BCTS and the FLINRO agreed the current visual impact assessment points only being on the highway to determine visual impacts of harvest blocks is inadequate and that assessment points on the Chief and Gondola are going to be implemented. They also stated the Visual Quality Objectives which set out the allowed visible level of forest modification (ie harvesting) on the landscape in the Southern portion of their tenure areas are under review and are to changed to a higher retention level. They are awaiting analysis of impacts to timber supply before implementing these changes.

MA 109 - BCTS stated the chances MA109 was to be logged was virtually zero and that this block was brought up in a short deadline mapping exercise to determine potential harvest areas based on stand age and timber types. It is NOT considered to be a viable block.

Spatial data base of climbing resources: BCTS stated it needs to update and maintain its inventory of climbing resources. SAS agreed that this information is important to BCTS and the other licence holders in the District and that we are willing to supply that info. However, we are trying to determine what resources are developed out there too especially in terms of new bouldering areas. So, scrubbers we need to know what areas you are working in. We hope to have a google maps application up soon for you to identify the locations of new areas.

Sincerely

Chris Small
Board Member SAS
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Trail maintenance day at the Squamish Mountain Fest was a great success again this year with an excellent turnout despite the rain. This year's projects were construction of a connector trail from Up Amongst the Firs to a new soon to be revealed development adjacent to Murrin Park and tree removal and brushing of the North walls trails to Northern Lights and Angels Crest. Thanks to all our volunteers and our Sponsors: Metolious, Black Diamond, Arcteryx, MEC, Blurr, and Mammet for supplying swag. Here is a pic of the Murrin crew with their well earned gains. ...

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This excellent letter, written by Squamish local Ed Fischer, sums up his opinion on the proposed logging behind the Squamish Chief.

"To BC Timber Sales
Copy to The Squamish Chief, Squamish Council, Minister of Forests,

I am writing to express my deep concerns regarding the proposed timber cutting block (SW144) below the north east side of the Chief and the south face of Slhanay, formally know as The S___w.

First off please be aware of how hard this town (Squamish) has worked to establish itself as an outdoor recreation destination. And now it finally seems to be paying off. CNN recently declared Squamish the North America’s number one destination mountain town to visit this summer. Nice. But now we have the threat of BC Timber Sales running amok in prime recreational land right next to our class A park, plowing through established trails, and creating eyesores for scenic overlooks. It seems like a return to the bad old days when the people of Tofino, now one of the most successful tourist destinations in Canada, had to stand their ground against unrestrained forest practices.

I find it disturbing that land management decisions at BCTS, a BC government organization, are often made by people who have never visited the field sites they have jurisdiction over. The BCTS website seems to give no indication that there is an awareness in this organization that Crown land has a potential for recreational use and that logging needs to coexist with other uses. Read the posted mandate.

Here are a few reasons why timber cutting in this area is a really bad idea for our community, recreational users, and the reputation of BC Timber Sales and the BC Forest Ministry.

The Chief backside trail is probably, next to the Grouse Grind, the most popular day hike in BC. On a summer weekend it is overloaded to the point of congestion. Over the last number of years locals have put considerable work into building and improving trails on the alternative north Side of the Chief and on the west and south sides of Slhanay. Tourists are now beginning to discover these trails and they are on recreational maps. These trails will be devastated by the proposed logging. The main trail to the scenic summit of Slhanay (in the park) and the connecting trail from the Chief will be highly impacted. As will Tony’s memorial bench, a spectacular overlook, where more than one family that I know of has gone to perform a service for a deceased loved one. Ashes have been scattered near this special spot. Hey, this is our sacred ground you are messing with.

So far this proposed timber cut has mostly gone under the radar. But now I hear outrage building in this community. BCTS would be wise to take steps to avoid a public relations debacle here. BCTS administrators also should think seriously about revising the narrow mandate as posted on their website in order to include the practice of coexistence with other users and communities on our public lands.

Eduard Fischer
Squamish BC"
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