Posted by: karlrobinstevenson | August 27, 2016

CWR Bedwell Commercial Horse Trail Plans No More

Friends of Strathcona Park (FOSP) have been fighting the intrusive commercial horse trail in the Bedwell Valley for 12 years.  It was an idiotic and impractical idea to begin with and Clayoquot wilderness Resort (CWR) finally figured it out, with no help from BC Parks officials.

The dude ranch in the park concept appears to have been mainly the misguided fantasy of a former country rock band manager from Toronto who is now reported to have moved on from CWR.

It could easily have been stopped 12 years ago by the BC Parks Department, but it wasn’t.  Instead, the park permit granting process continued steadily on, including changes to the Strathcona Park Master Plan to allow the operation, always against heavy public opposition, and eventually a park use permit was given to CWR.

The next step was for CWR to present a plan for their operation in the park to the Parks Department.  An engineering survey was probably needed to prepare a plan, because engineering flagging appeared along the fantasy horse trail in the Bedwell recently.  I believe this is the very first time in 12 years that the fantasy was actually subject to knowledgeable, realistic scrutiny.  The engineering outfit must have told CWR how stupid, expensive, and totally impractical the dude ranch idea in a coastal rain forest valley (perpetual annual winter floods, washouts, avalanches, etcetera) actually was.  Very quickly, CWR abandoned the project and their park use permit has now been cancelled.

Of course, it should never have been granted in the first place, but that’s politics in the BC Park system.  After a hard and unnecessary 12 year fight, the Bedwell Valley now appears safe, at least until the next commercial threat comes along.  The government allowed the valley to be logged in the 1960s and 70s, and then dumped it from the park in the 1980s, (they said it had low park value because it had been logged) and the valley was put back into the park as a result of the Strathcona Blockade of 1988 (politics, you know).  The timber is now very slowly coming back.  In a few hundred years, it’ll be just like it was before the government (Parks Department) allowed it to be logged.

Will governments leave it alone for long enough for the trees to grow back?  Probably not, if the past (including the latest episode with CWR) is any guide.  So far, money and politics have played a much bigger part in BC Provincial Parks than any other factor. The future isn’t looking much different.  As usual, we (the voting public) can only wait and see…










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