Sunday, March 09, 2008

BC Guidebook Author Shares Similar Concerns

As a guidebook author I have a fondness for my fellow guidebook authors- well at least a good number of them! One whose work I've enjoyed over the years and have used his books to help guide me, is Jack Bryceland of Chilliwack, BC. His 103 Hikes in Southwestern British Columbia is indispensable for any hiker exploring the lower mainland of BC. Jack's best selling guide book (over 120,000 copies) is now coming out in its 6th edition! Nice work-and I can only hope my Day Hiking Books have a similar run.
Upon reading a recent interview with Jack in I found that many of the same concerns Jack has for trails and conservation in BC are similar to ones that I have for trails and conservation here in Washington. Among Jack's concerns:
The increase in Motorized recreation and illegal ATV use. He cites one hike he had to remove from a previous edition because, "all-terrain vehicles have torn up the meadows."
He's also concerned that conservation of public lands, as well as access to trails, is in decline across the province. This is one of my biggest concerns too and its coming at us from several fronts.
1. Lack of funding and commitment from government sources
2. Decline in natural resource jobs leading to decline in funds for road and trail maintenance
3. Elite misguided extremist environmental organizations who champion road decommissioning at the expense of public access
And while I believe motorized users have a right to recreate I agree with Jack when he makes the following statement, “Nonmotorized outdoor recreation is not sufficiently appreciated as a maintainer of good health, and I think we need to get that publicized, recognized. Riding your ATV doesn’t do anything for you healthwise, and causes all sorts of environmental degradation.”
We guidebook writers can learn from each other and its nice to see that Jack is taking a chapter from the Washington play book. He plans to devote a portion of this year to laying out the groundwork for an organization like the Washington Trails Association to help protect and maintain hiking trails in B.C.
Bravo- my new Day Hiking Books donate 1% of their proceeds to the Washington Trails Association. A small amount, but a needed amount and a commitment to our trails. And what can you do? Buy Jack's book for one thing and explore some of those great trails. Get involved with a Canadian Trails or Conservation group like the British Columbia Mountaineering Club or the Wilderness Committee and of course support the Washington Trails Association here!

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