Subscribe

Our Roots

OUR ROOTS

 

The Squamish Access Society can trace its roots back over 20 years to the founding of the Squamish Rockclimbers Association. That group was formed in 1985 by Kevin McLane and John Howe, both of whom are still active with today’s SAS. The focus of effort at that time was to try and achieve park status for the Smoke Bluffs, and to raise awareness with the Ministry of Transportation over the vulnerability of the climbs in the Murrin Park canyon.

By the early 1990s it had become evident that the District of Squamish was not interested in a Smoke Bluffs Park, so with Perry Beckham, attention was turned to lobbying BC Parks to establish the Chief as a Class A Provincial Park. The effort finally proved successful in 1995, and it was clearly expressed by the province that the support and dedication of Squamish climbers had been a crucial factor in their decision.The years that followed were a time of change. In 1996 the Squamish Rockclimbers Association began to direct its effort to managing the Chief campground under contract with BC Parks, and the Climbers Access Society of BC was founded by Anders Ourom, with Kevin McLane, to create a provincial-level organization for climbers. The SRA’s focus on the Chief campground soon resulted in a steady decline of involvement in advocacy, and as a result CASBC came to fill the void in the years that followed. In 2005 new management policies from BC Parks brought to an end the SRA’s tenure as Chief campground managers, and the organization folded.

By 2002-2003 two events provoked notable change to the manner in which Squamish climbers defended their interests. The first was the Squamish Municipal election of 2002 which ushered in a progressive local government. Direct lobbying from Kevin McLane, Perry Beckham and John Howe to the Mayor of Squamish brought a commitment of significant resources to establish Smoke Bluffs Park—a process that is nearing completion. The second event was the province’s decision to embark on a massive upgrade to Highway 99, widening most of it to 4 lanes, and bringing major change to roadside crags and boulders, and access to them, along Highway 99.

Presentations to the Ministry of Transportation in 2003 led to climbers being invited to serve on its Highway 99 Recreation Focus Group to examine in detail impacts along the highway and determine solutions. By 2004, the District of Squamish’s multi-stakeholder Smoke Bluffs Park Planning Group was well underway and a new Squamish-based group developed to complement the provincial focus of CASBC. The Squamish Access Society was established in 2004 by Tyrone Brett, Kevin McLane and John Howe, with help from others, as a grassroots local voice for Squamish advocacy. The SAS became a registered Society in 2006.

LATEST NEWS

  • Recent donations and assistance
    SAS is very grateful to Varsity Outdoor Club for an extremely generous donation. Thanks also to staff at MEC headquarters who helped us raise significant funds and new membership sign-ups at the Tommy Caldwell lecture event last month. Thanks also for online donations so far in 2018...
    Read more
  • 2018 Falcon Closure
    See BC Parks closure notice here. Closed routes include Alaska Highway, The Calling, Gone Surfin’, The Ron Zalko Workout, and the Astro Ledge between the top of Alaska Highway and the bottom of Gone Surfin’....
    Read more
  • New bus service linking Squamish “south parks”
    A seasonal bus service linking the Squamish “south parks” is starting on June 16th. SAS encourages climbers to use this service if it is convenient for them, rather than driving, as parking at the Chief and Shannon Falls is very constrained in peak season....
    Read more
  • SAS VP Brian Moorhead is BC Parks Volunteer of the Year
    BC Parks have recognised Squamish Access Society vice-president Brian Moorhead as their 2017 “Volunteer of the Year“. Along with society secretary, Todd Gerhart, Brian is one of the two members of SAS’s board who have served since the society’s inception. Brian’s award primarily recognises his work at...
    Read more