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2 climbers banned from Grouse for cutting trees for climbing route

April 24, 2021, 11:18 a.m.
Posts: 8347
Joined: Jan. 18, 2004

Climbers banned, NS News

Are bikers next? They mention trail builders in the piece and how these climbers probably figured it was OK since it's happened all over the area for decades.

Thoughts?


 Last edited by: Straw on April 24, 2021, 11:19 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
April 24, 2021, 11:23 a.m.
Posts: 1625
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

https://www.nsnews.com/local-news/rock-climbers-banned-from-grouse-mountain-park-for-unsanctioned-trail-3658563

"When confronted at the scene by a Metro Vancouver park ranger in October of that year, they admitted they were responsible for some of the work, which included 23 trees being cut down and 12 more being limbed.


 Last edited by: syncro on April 24, 2021, 11:30 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
April 26, 2021, 10:45 a.m.
Posts: 13
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

I think the analogy with trail builders is a little misleading.  Even in the old days, I don't think trail builders chopped down that many live trees to make a trail (could be wrong though).  Certainly it has not happened in the past 10-15 years.

April 26, 2021, 11:45 a.m.
Posts: 149
Joined: Feb. 16, 2013

I'm just trying to comprehend how 23 trees removed would be required for a new climbing route. That's a lot of trees to remove from park land.

April 26, 2021, 11:51 a.m.
Posts: 1659
Joined: Aug. 6, 2009

A long time ago, on a cliff far away, I cleaned and bolted climbing routes. Even back then, no one would have supported cutting down 23 trees to put up a route, or even multiple routes, and for sure not in a designated park. Find a piece of rock that is easier to develop.

Rumour is that there is some backstory to this that hasn't been made public. If they were truly relying on "it's better to ask forgiveness than permission" as a defense, they're lucky they only got banned from the park for a year.


 Last edited by: PaulB on April 26, 2021, 11:52 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
April 26, 2021, 12:34 p.m.
Posts: 18074
Joined: Oct. 28, 2003

https://gripped.com/news/words-with-the-new-vancouver-climbers-association/

https://www.vanclimbers.com/

Looks like very similar land access issues we all face and support advocacy groups to work on  (e.g. Cypress Village as one of the VCA's goals)

April 28, 2021, 9:56 a.m.
Posts: 29
Joined: April 27, 2018

Another opinion piece on NSNews (https://www.nsnews.com/opinion/editorial-outdoor-adventurers-take-notice-after-rock-climbers-fined-for-unsanctioned-trail-3671197) about the climbers being banned. With each of these stories, we get bits and pieces of the full story. As with any issue there are different sides, backstory, and human/environmental needs. 

I too am concerned about the cutting of trees, but I wonder how it compares to the number of trees removed within the city. A property around the corner from me recently cut down ~15 trees that were 50 to 100 years old (with hardly any complaints). We see the continuous paving of the city, trees cut to support infrastructure, so many decisions that impact the environment!

I think a balance needs to be struck between recreational needs, and environmental needs. I'm concerned about using the NSMBA trail model, because it seems to limit the construction of new trails (NSMBA has been talking about building an advanced jump trail on Fromme for 12 years, but the District seems to be a roadblock/impenetrable barrier). I hope that the major landowners can move from enforce/punish/disable approach to an enable/empower approach by creating a vision, sharing the vision, bringing people together, and supporting the needs of residents and the environment...we need a strategic trail/recreation plan for the North Shore.

April 28, 2021, 10:57 a.m.
Posts: 782
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

The number of trees cut down on Cypress the last few years has been astonishing and nobody complains about that. Even when it's done for monster energy-devouring homes that will likely sit empty most of the time.

That being said cutting down 23 trees for a footpath by people who really oughta know better sucks. Could they walk their trail route with experienced trailbuilders and justify their choice? Probably not. The climbing community is well aware of this situation and they're not happy.

April 28, 2021, 11:52 a.m.
Posts: 391
Joined: Aug. 10, 2012

To be clear, the land on which these climbers cut the trees down, is in a new Regional Park...not on land slated for development. The purpose of the Grouse Mountain Regional Park is to create a vertical experience that showcases the 4 climactic/environmental regions. There are already plans in place for trails, erosion control, access, signage. 

e.g. Removing even a single tree in Stanley Park requires a permitting process and bureaucratic debate at the highest levels.

April 28, 2021, 11:59 a.m.
Posts: 29
Joined: April 27, 2018

Hi Mudrunner

I have read the regional park plan. The problem with Metro Vancouver's park plans, is that they only include one user type (hiker) and the general goal is to exclude people and educate them on why they are being excluded...

With regards to the tree removal, most forest types have natural disturbance types that need to be replicated in a park environment. For example, the coastal Douglas biogeoclimatic zone requires ground fires to maintain the forest type. By managing fires, the forest needs tree removal/management to maintain a healthy forest. 

To be clear, I'm not advocating for tree removal. I'm sure an experienced trail builder (as Craw said) could have mitigated the tree removal. I'm advocating for the right balance between environmental protection and recreation (and inclusion of all user types). And a park management plan that is inclusive...

April 28, 2021, 12:01 p.m.
Posts: 1625
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: craw

The number of trees cut down on Cypress the last few years has been astonishing and nobody complains about that. Even when it's done for monster energy-devouring homes that will likely sit empty most of the time.

That being said cutting down 23 trees for a footpath by people who really oughta know better sucks. Could they walk their trail route with experienced trailbuilders and justify their choice? Probably not. The climbing community is well aware of this situation and they're not happy.

Yeah, this issue is a classic case of can't see the forest for the trees. It is amazing how hardly anybody bats an eye on environmental destruction when it comes to development that tends to benefit them. The one example that contradicts this is the recent protest of the removing of a 100 yr old cedar tree for a housing project in North Van or going way back to the S2S highway re-route through Eagle Bluffs. It would be hard to comment whether the removal of those trees was ok without seeing them, but when it's 23 trees that's going to piss people off and leave a black eye on the climbing community. Of course the irony is that a lot of people wagging their fingers are probably in the same group as those driving up to Joffrey lakes to overwhelm the trail system there. The elephant in the room is population, and there are far more people living in the Lower Mainland these days and people wanting to get out and recreate without any real increase in the infrastructure - trails, parking, ammenities - to serve those needs.


 Last edited by: syncro on April 28, 2021, 4:56 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
Reason: sp
April 28, 2021, 4:47 p.m.
Posts: 391
Joined: Aug. 10, 2012

Posted by: icullis

Hi Mudrunner

I have read the regional park plan. The problem with Metro Vancouver's park plans, is that they only include one user type (hiker) and the general goal is to exclude people and educate them on why they are being excluded...

With regards to the tree removal, most forest types have natural disturbance types that need to be replicated in a park environment. For example, the coastal Douglas biogeoclimatic zone requires ground fires to maintain the forest type. By managing fires, the forest needs tree removal/management to maintain a healthy forest. 

To be clear, I'm not advocating for tree removal. I'm sure an experienced trail builder (as Craw said) could have mitigated the tree removal. I'm advocating for the right balance between environmental protection and recreation (and inclusion of all user types). And a park management plan that is inclusive...

I hear ya. In this case, I was just pointing out that trees in a planned Park, are probably more protected than a non-designated park area.

In the development of this park, Metro held an all-users discussion (a couple of them actually) on this proposal a couple of years ago. All user groups were invited and present (hikers, runners, TCT, NSMBA, BCMC, NSTRA, and Alpine Canada were all present) in the preliminary planning stages of this particular park. In this case, I cannot see any mountain bike interest...it's basically the Grind and BCMC. They did heed more than one user group, which resulted in the removal of the locked gate at the base of the Grind during winter, as well as all-year open access to other trails (used by mountaineers for winter training). Metro isn't perfect, but they seem to be evolving. 

(FYI, I am not affiliated with Metro, BC Parks, DNV, or any other land owner group...save for my own small plot of land)

April 28, 2021, 5:52 p.m.
Posts: 1189
Joined: May 4, 2006

Whereabouts were these trees removed from? And when?

IIRC, the land below Grouse was only "recently" made into park land...was it owned by Grouse Mountain beforehand?

April 28, 2021, 11:13 p.m.
Posts: 1659
Joined: Aug. 6, 2009

The land that became the park had been owned by the Greater Vancouver Water District for 85 years.

https://www.nsnews.com/local-news/grouse-mountain-officially-becomes-a-park-3056093

April 29, 2021, 7:46 a.m.
Posts: 782
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

Posted by: SixZeroSixOne

Whereabouts were these trees removed from? And when?

IIRC, the land below Grouse was only "recently" made into park land...was it owned by Grouse Mountain beforehand?

And WHY?

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