I am writing to comment on your Dec. 28 story, Out of Bounds Boarder Needs Rescue, and in response to the letter from Natasha Reid published on the Viewpoint page of the same date.
Firstly, I would like to commend the professionalism and skill of the North Shore Rescue volunteers who, time and again, risk life and limb to rescue these idiots. While it is noble for NSR to refuse fines or fees for the services they provide, as they say it may cause people to hesitate to call for help, to me this reasoning is faulty.
If people know they will be held responsible for their actions and fined, maybe they wouldn't willfully leave the clearly marked trails. As noted in the story, in a previous rescue of an out-of-bounds snowboarder additional costs were involved, not only for Cypress Mountain, but also in the use of a Canadian Forces Cormorant helicopter to retrieve him.
Secondly, I take issue with Ms. Reid's letter. Her point is non-sequitur. Much time, effort and expense goes into providing places where people can safely pursue and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. However, our mountains, trails, and back-country are very dangerous places for the unskilled, unprepared or just plain stupid - such as the jogger who decided to go for a little run in his shorts and T-shirt at dusk in late November without knowing the trails or the terrain. The rules and boundaries put in place are to ensure the safety of all.
Lastly, whether or not one has a healthy lifestyle has nothing to do with the issue. As part of my healthy lifestyle, I ride a bicycle, but this doesn't mean I can ride my bike the wrong way on Highway 1. It would endanger myself, and others. But, according to Ms. Reid, all is forgiven because I'm physically active.
I would encourage Ms. Reid to look at this "bigger picture: " Rescuers, both human and animal, risk and sometimes lose their lives for others. If Ms. Reid is "just as happy to pay for the costs of search and rescue operations . . . as I am for my tax dollars to pay for the costs associated with sedentary lifestyles. . . ." perhaps she'll be happy paying for the funerals and continued support of the families of those who sacrifice their lives through brave service. Or is that just another "cost-of-doing-business" of healthy lifestyles?
My suggestion is that all users of the trails and snow runs be required, each year, to pay a modest fee and take a 60-90 minute course on safety, the dangers of going out-of-bounds, and a basic orientation of the area. Only then should they be allowed to use these facilities.
Steve Keffer North Vancouver