Archive:Snowmobiling near Brian Waddington Hut
This is an old letter written by the VOC executive to the government regarding snowmobiling near the Brian Waddington Hut. For more up to date information on this issue please see the Sea to Sky Backcountry Forum page.
Letter Regarding Phelix Creek/VOC Brian Waddington Hut
Dear Mr. Tudhope,
The Varsity Outdoor Club Executive is writing this letter on behalf of its general membership to address some concerns that have arisen regarding the VOC's Waddington Hut at Phelix Creek. We believe that our views are also shared by the broader non-motorized recreational community who make use of our hut in this beautiful wilderness area.
We are concerned with the application that has been made to establish a commercial snowmobile/ATV operation in the area which would run regular trips in the vicinity of the hut. The Waddington or Phelix Creek Hut was built as a joint project of the VOC and the BC Worker's Compensation Board in 1998 with the purpose of providing a base for the exploration of this amazing area with its wide range of opportunities for backcountry skiing, rock climbing and mountaineering. The hut is open to the general public as well as VOC members and is popular amongst various groups looking to get out and enjoy the backcountry, including groups who use the hut as a base to teach mountaineering skills. For instance, this past New Year's holiday saw almost thirty people at the hut taking advantage of the great ski touring in the area! The VOC is concerned that allowing a commercial motorized operation to establish itself would ruin the area for the non-motorized recreationists who appreciate it for its beauty, serenity and wilderness value. We also wonder about where the proposed snowmobile route would lie as it seems that certain sections near the creek would require serious construction efforts to allow snowmobiles to pass, which would, of course, degrade the wilderness value of the area further in addition to the disruptive presence of motorized vehicles themselves. Furthermore, we would like to point out that the location of the hut was chosen partly based on the low probability in the area for snowmobiler and skier conflicts to occur. The Ministry of Forests explicitly indicated to the VOC that we should choose an area that had a low potential for conflicts, and we felt from both perspectives that it was an important consideration. VOC members and the public who use the hut are understandably quite dismayed that there has now been a reconsideration of this issue.
We believe the area encompassing the Phelix Creek drainage should be designated as a non-motorized use area as suggested by the Sea to Sky Backcountry Recreation Forums (Winter and Summer) in 2003 to preserve the quality of the outdoor experience in this valley for the non-motorized recreationists who have established a presence in the area over a number of years (including prior to the completion of the current hut). We would also like to call attention to the fact that the Ministry of Forests and the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC have both suggested after conducting studies in the area that Phelix Creek and its environs be reserved for non-motorized use because of the long history of non-motorized pursuits in the area; the presence of the popular Waddington Hut; and the value of the land as habitat for grizzly bears. Therefore, the Varsity Outdoor Club respectfully requests that the area be designated in the Squamish LRMP as a non-motorized area, and that no motorized groups or individuals be permitted to use motorized vehicles off roads in the area in light of the great value that Phelix Creek holds for non-motorized recreationists.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter; we look forward to hearing a response from you. Respectfully yours, Varsity Outdoor Club Executive comments and editing appreciated!!!! - Milena