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This begins to raise questions of how will high traffic fluxes be managed? Would there be a cap in place to limit the number of backcountry users per day? Would backcountry users, not using the huts, be required to pay user fees? These are all questions that we, as a community, must ask ourselves before giving away the right to develop the remaining portion of the Spearhead.
I do not want to come off as an ultra-hippy-tree-hugger with an anti-hut attitude. But what is the harm in leaving the remaining portion of the Spearhead range undeveloped of trails and huts?
Whistler-Blackcomb resort has already created arguably, the easiest access to a high alpine traverse in North America. The chairlifts whisk people to the alpine, dropping them off merely hundreds of metres from backcountry gates. Leaving these backcountry gates, boundless undeveloped terrain is accessible. This creates the perfect environment for hut-free backcountry use. Chairlifts take away the grunt work of climbing to the alpine, leaving backcountry users to complete the traverse with tents.
By travelling in this undeveloped area, users will experience the raw elements and natural power of the landscape. This undeveloped terrain will be able to give users a more authentic nature and backcountry experience. After all, if the users were not interested in an authentic backcountry experience, why did they venture to the backcountry in the first place?
For tourists seeking to experience a high alpine traverse, with the luxuries of huts, perhaps try looking at the European Alps. However, it is well known that many Europeans venture to western Canada every year to experience an undeveloped setting for mountain experiences.
(Public hearings will be held by BC Parks in Whistler Dec. 6 at the Whistler Conference Centre from 4 to 7 p.m.). BC Parks is looking for your input and ideas to help better manage the Spearhead Range. Please remember what is at stake when voicing your opinions. Perhaps backcountry huts are not the answer to maintaining the Spearhead Range for future generations. The simple installations of latrines will ensure the longevity of the range's beauty.
TW looking for win-win solutions
I would like to thank Pique for highlighting the tourism industry's efforts to lobby the federal government for increased funding, however, I would also like to take this opportunity to further clarify a couple of points in the Nov. 15 article: "TW lobbying for more federal tourism funding."
Tourism Whistler respects government's need to be fiscally responsible to taxpayers and that tough times call for tough decisions, however, the tourism industry's approach to addressing funding shortfalls is to find solutions that are a win-win for both government and the industry.