A disturbing trend has come to light in the last few months as avid biking and hiking locals have seen numerous signs removed from west-side trails in Whistler.
"They've been vandalized — actually ripped out of the ground," said Grant Lamont, who has been working with the Alpine Club of Canada, WORCA and the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) to improve trail signage.
Over several months, anywhere from five to 10 signs and other items such as reflectors have been removed from trails. Typically, the four-by-four inch posts mark trails but also direct hikers on hiking trails to be cautious when crossing biking trails. The signage was a collaborative effort between the Alpine Club, Worca and the RMOW.
"This was a really great initiative by the municipality to sign all the trails for people — not only locals but so tourists know where they're going on the myriad trails we have here," said Kevin Titus of the Alpine Club.
A lot of reroute work had been completed by the trail Howler — on the west side. Once completed, Titus visited the area shortly after, only to discover the signage had been removed.
"It's not so much the work," said Titus. "It was really nice to have all the trails sign-posted and now we're not really wanting to put them up again until we find out who's doing this."
Both Lamont and Titus said any tip as to whom may be doing this can be reported to CrimeStoppers, WORCA or to the Alpine Club of Canada.
"One of the things we wanted to get across here is that we want the community to help us out with this to deter this type of action," said Lamont. "The behaviour has gone beyond being trivial at this point. We just want people to report it or if they know who it is. All this effort — it's really gotten to a point where it needs to be stopped."
Titus said they want residents to be alerted to the vandalism.
"We're hoping that this kind of thing gets around," he said. "We're hoping that if someone hears something about it — maybe they hear someone boasting about it.
"It's just kind of weird. It doesn't really make sense. What's the motive to take away a sign that's just helping direct people? It's very un-Whistler-like."
In an emailed response, the RMOW confirmed the vandalism and said an RCMP file has been opened.
One of the recommendations in the RMOW Leisure Master Plan was to upgrade way-finding and signage for parks to improve the experience on the Valley Trail, recreational trails and the Lost Lake Cross Country trails.