All of Strathcona Park should be available to all of us

Dear editor,

I just returned from hiking the Centennial Trail through Bedwell Valley in Strathcona Park.

Dear editor,

I just returned from hiking the Centennial Trail through Bedwell Valley in Strathcona Park, in the southwest corner where it meets Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island.

Following the river from tidewater to alpine, the trail passes through one of the most varied and scenic landscapes in the park, home to the rare Roosevelt elk, black bear and cougar.

Demanding in some sections, moss-carpeted in others, the trail is one of the finest in the park for seasoned backpackers to experience the full range of coastal wilderness.

At the mouth of the Bedwell River is a very different vision of land use.

Clayoquot Wilderness Resort is an elite horse camp where a three-night minimum stay costs nearly $5,000. Your government approved a permit for CWR to rebuild road access inside Strathcona Park for the exclusive use of its private horse tours.

This is a misuse of B.C.’s parkland, which should be accessible to all based on experience and ability — not carved away for private enterprises such as luxury dude ranches.

The Centennial Trail is more appropriate development: low-cost and low-impact access for a true back-country experience of a lifetime.

Philip Vernon,

Salt Spring Island

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