There are many signs of change. Some such signs include cherry blossoms signaling spring, and frost signaling winter. No sign however makes the heart sink as fast as coming upon a survey spike in the middle of the woods. Like a messenger of change, that florescent orange toothpick in the dirt is a sign telling everyone: enjoy it while you can, cuz change is a comin’.
Before the boom, Squamish had an absolutely enviable network of trails. Perhaps the best part is the fact that they were all close to homes. But as sure as pavement has become synonymous with progress, we all know many of the trails in our community are in danger of being developed.
A perfect example of this is the classic trail the district gladly allowed Wal-Mart to desecrate so they could build a completely un-necessary light on the highway. The deal our Mayor and council of the day gave to Wal-Mart stank then, it stinks now, and every time we have to stop at that obscenely ignorant light on the highway we’ll be able to take another whiff of their horrible mistake.
Thankfully though, not all developers are being allowed to get away with spitting on our community like Wal-Mart did.
In fact, not all, but some developers are in open dialogue with the district trails coordinator and community groups such as the Squamish Trails Society and SORCA to ensure when development does occur, steps are taken to create a win win scenario.
One of the latest trail networks scheduled to take a hit is Valleycliffe. Of course this is nothing new as these plans have been around for what seems like forever. Now however, the plans are moving ahead slowly, as plans are apt to do. So in the next year we will see yet more trails turn to pavement and houses.
While this may send many into a tizzy, it’s very important to realize that it could be much worse. Thankfully, the developer is making every effort to work with trail users and ensure that they follow the districts policy of ‘no net loss of trail type’. Not to mention for the past several years we’ve been allowed to ride on what essentially is private land.
Of course I’m sad to see legendary sections of trail fall to the dozer. Especially since it includes key sections of the cult classic mountain bike event “Beyond the Valleycliffe of the Dolls”. (Which just celebrated its sixth year dontcha know.) However, these tears are temporary as I hope this development will be an example for what can, and should be done in the future.
This includes the district sticking to their ‘no net loss of trail
type’ guns while developers recognize the value trails have in our
community and act accordingly. While I realize it’s difficult for
some to appreciate what it is to have a forested walk in the woods at
your doorstep; it’s even harder to appreciate when it’s gone.