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Editorial: Outdoor adventurers take notice after rock climbers fined for unsanctioned trail

There has to be a way forward that doesn’t leave environmental carnage
Grind and Baden Powell Sign
Two rock climbers are banned from North Vancouver's Grouse Mountain Regional Park for a year because they damaged the park's natural features to build a rock climbing route.

We bring you a story this week about a pair of rock climbers facing fines and a one-year ban from Grouse Mountain Regional Park for their work on an unsanctioned climbing route – the first time this charge has been laid under Metro Vancouver’s bylaw.

No doubt, this will come as a shot across the bow of a great many outdoor adventurers. Virtually all of our mountain trails were at one point unsanctioned projects led by backcountry hobbyists. No one was investigated let alone charged in court, fined and banished.

But those trails were also built at a time when we shot bears without a second thought, sprayed CFCs into the atmosphere all willy-nilly and put food scraps, beer cans and construction waste into the same bin.

In other words, that was then and this is now. If Metro Vancouver, municipalities or the province are going to start cracking down, it will most certainly be noticed by today’s rogue trailblazers.

The couple say they were cutting down trees in the interest of safety for climbers. We are sympathetic to that. Recreating in the forest is second nature to us and we don’t want anyone getting injured or killed needlessly. We suspect North Shore Rescue would agree.

But there has to be a way forward that doesn’t leave environmental carnage. Perhaps the agreements between land managers and the North Shore Mountain Bike Association is the model to follow.

The amount of nature we have to play in is the envy of the world. Surely there is enough space for all of us to connect with the wilderness while still leaving it wild.

What are your thoughts? Send us a letter via email by clicking here or post a comment below.