Don’t allow the tenures

I agree with Larry Shannon that the government should not let any more land go in the St.Mary’s.It is a reference to these two tenure applications. The government gave away all the land around St.Mary’s Lake and now we are probably going to lose access to the east end.We have 2 separate tenure applications pending to basically cover all parts of the valley that aren’t in the park or conservancy.One of them wants 70,000 hectares for helicopter tourism. The other wants 10000 hectares to build a lodge,trails, and cabin.They both propose using helicopters to access the alpine.Trouble is if even one gets approved there will be lots more following wanting their own tenure or subleasing off the original ones.

Having spent over 50 years in that country I know the damage it is going to do.The St.Mary’s is a special place because of it’s extremely rough terrain.I’ve climbed and hiked a lot of it with my brother and our sons.It is a tough slug anywhere you go.

Years ago I went to a couple of meetings to establish guide lines for the St.Mary’s Alpine Park.As we had young kids I wanted to see some trails cut to make easier access to the alpine.Other people there explained that even a small trail would cause damage. I see now it was the right decision.We also discussed helicopter landings in the park and it was agreed they should be banned.I know now that they could see what was coming.That park remains remote and natural.The people involved in the Cranbrook West plan could also see what the future held.This country cannot handle helicopter traffic.I don’t know why these tenures are even being considered.

I went to the packed meeting in Kimberley. Persons I talked with there were all opposed to it.I was glad to see so many young people there.People want to save this last bit of remaining wilderness .People from the West Kootenay said there had been conflicts between locals and the one proponent.No surprise as I’ve had problems myself with tenure holders.They don’t make good stewards.They’re there to make money.They stand to make big bucks when they sell.A moratorium was put in the West Kootenay to halt tenure applications for a year.Same should be done here.

2 peaks that are taking the brunt are Mt.Bonner and Armour Peak.I once wrote to the government asking how the St.Mary’s peaks were named.Several were named for Kimberley Airmen killed in WW11 including these 2.They were put on remote peaks as a lasting memorial.Mt.Bonner was the first peak I climbed.It is a surreal place.Won’t be with the amount of proposed bike trails on it.Armour Peak sits on the great ridge between Dewar and the West Fork.Won’t be the same with a lodge and trails disturbing it’s alpine.

If you want that feeling of reaching the tops of those remote peaks,fishing the numerous high lakes,hiking the old trails,getting pounded by what seems the loudest thunder storms ever,watching the sunrise and sunset without the noise from helicopters then make sure you comment on these applications and tell our government no more land giveaways.We need our wildlife to move back in there not forced out of it.

Randy Wallach

Kimberley B.C.

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