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Tourism Squamish supports Test of Metal Park



Tourism Squamish has thrown its support behind cyclist Richard MacKellar’s vision for a Test of Metal Sports Park.

“I sat down with him a few months ago,” said Lesley Weeks, manager of tourism development with Tourism Squamish. “We started brainstorming, and he did a presentation to the Tourism Squamsh Board. They’re supportive and want me to spend time on this initiative.”

An awareness campaign began last week, with Tourism Squamish sending out a volley of e-mails asking for letters of support as they go forward and lobby different levels of government.

“This is just a start — to try and get out as much awareness as possible, to get some letters and see where we can go,” said Weeks.” The next step would be to go to council and move on from there. In Richard’s words, ‘It’s a marathon, not a sprint.’ We’re just trying to do whatever we can to assist.”

In an interview with Pique , Mayor Greg Gardner praised the idea. “I look forward to hearing more about it,” he said.

The Test of Metal course is 67 kilometres long. Parts of it are used in other races, such as loonie and twoonie races, as well as Gear Jammer and the Stormy.

For MacKellar, the time is now. Over the years, he’s watched logging and development pick away at the trail.

“It could eventually die by a thousand cuts,” he said. “No one of them in themselves are overwhelming, but, taken together, they’re quite serious.”

He’s been involved in the race for years, mostly as a test pilot. Throughout that time, he’s seen logging and other types of development nip at trails like Old Jack’s Trail, Dead End Loop and the Powerhouse Plunge.

“To leave a legacy to be enjoyed by our children, and for generations to come, we are starting the process of protecting the lands to save it from the threat of development, logging and quarrying,” reads the campaign literature. “Can you imagine Squamish without the Test of Metal? We would like to be sure that threats such as those to The Plunge and Dead End Loop can be avoided. For this we will need community support.”

No lobby effort comes without hurdles. MacKellar is concerned over development in Garibaldi Highlands, as well as discussions with Squamish Nation and other trail users.

“Those will be the most contentious discussions,” he said.