LETTER: Howe Sound merits World Heritage status

Dear Editor:

Howe Sound may not be the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti or the pyramids of Egypt, but this part of B.C. could certainly stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the world's greatest landmarks.

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I'm writing this letter to the North Shore News in hopes of raising the profile of Howe Sound by sharing why I passionately believe this part of the world is worth preserving, especially in an age of urban sprawl where the divide between city and suburbs is quickly fading away. For those who are not aware, Howe Sound is the body of water from West Vancouver and Bowen Island all the way up to Squamish.

UNESCO defines world heritage as "our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations." UNESCO believes that "World Heritage Sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located."

Is Howe Sound worthy of this title? My answer is yes! Absolutely.

Howe Sound is a unique part of the world because of its rich cultural history with the Squamish and Shishalh Nations who lived, fished, traded and travelled within the sound for thousands of years.

Offering us fresh water through a wide range of waterfalls, streams and rivers plus a rich marine ecosystem for plants and animals, the Sound also plays an important role in the rejuvenation of B.C.'s salmon, prawn and herring industry. In 2013 we even saw orcas returning to the Sound.

Driving along the Sea to Sky Highway and looking out on the water evokes such a breathtaking "wow" feeling that even the B.C. Lotto Corp. saw it fit to use footage from this drive for one of their Lotto 6/49 commercials.

If left unprotected, Howe Sound will become eroded and vulnerable under the impact of the irreversible changes from the industrialization of Howe Sound. Please help us get the word out.

For more information, visit futureofhowesound.org and protecthowesound.ca.

Michelle Neilson


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