Strathcona Park Plan Revealed
the Daily Colonist. Victoria, BC. November, 1969
Give Public Access; Keep Wilderness Setting.
A master plan for recreational development of Vancouver Island's 500,000 - acre Strathcona Park was revealed Sunday by officials of the parks Branch of the Provincial Department of Recreation and Conservation. Parks director, Robert Ahrens and planning supervisor George Wood told about 150 outdoor recreationists of the scheme at a meeting called by V.I. Mountain Ramblers, a hiking and outdoor club.
Strathcona Park with four mountains peaks over 7,000 feet high, famed Buttle Lake, Alpine meadows and scenery that is spectacular, will remain essentially as a wilderness park but will be opened up to recreationists according to a master plan now being formed.
Director Robert Ahrens touched briefly on some of the highlights of the plan, including construction of an administration centre at Buttle Lake, development of hiking trails and public camping facilities for the motoring public. The Island Ramblers will cut a hiking trail to alpine meadows and have already done considerable work. The parks officials outlined the idea of volunteer help by groups doing such work according to a plan developed by the parks branch. Such a scheme has worked successfully in Garibaldi Park.
Mr. Ahrens said it is likely that there will be some adjustment of Strathcona Park boundaries and that Forbidden Plateau ski area would be extended.
Road building in wilderness parks such as Strathcona must be kept at a minimum, otherwise the wilderness setting is lost. Hiking trails and construction of shelters for overnight stops will be a feature of public access to the mountain area.
Helicopters can play an important part in the scheme without upsetting the environment. For places where public transportation is needed, gondola cable cars have proven the most satisfactory. They are usable summer and winter and have many advantages over car and roads.
The province's parks are being developed according to carefully worked out plans and standards, and the importance of maintaining large areas in their natural environment as a sanctuary form pressures of modern society is kept constantly in mind.
Cape Scott at the northern tip of Vancouver Island is being considered for a provincial park. Mr. Ahrens told the Island Ramblers that the coastal area, typical of Canada's rugged Pacific shoreline would in his opinion be most suitable as a national park. "The west coast park at Long Beach could be another Coney Island," he said. The narrow belt of land along the shore is not particularly national park material.
George Wood, besides explaining the master plan for Strathcona, commented on litter disposal and noted that the parks branch now had set up a new rule. Plastic bags will be issued to people entering the wilderness areas in provincial parks and litter which cannot be burned must be brought back to the point of entry. Bottle and cans thrown in waterways constitute an infraction. Recreation is the greatest use to which park areas can be put, and "public interest in parks is the only protection against encroachment," said Mr. Wood.
retiring president of the Ramblers, was chairman. Excellent color slides
of Strathcona Park were shown by Syd Watts. The parks department men also
showed color slides of Strathcona and other parks.