The refurbishished Eagle Pass fire lookout. File photo

Letter: Upgrade to Eagle Pass cabin ill-advised

Who can doubt that the Eagle Pass Mountain cabin will be approved, despite its preemptive, unofficial construction ?

Approval will follow from a sympathetic public outcry arising from the flawed ethic which presumes that human precedence has the highest priority in all our interactions with nature.

Small wonder there’s growing climate change, oceans becoming overwhelmed by over-fishing, and plastic debris, and accelerating, worldwide decline of species.

For example, environmentally destructive impacts to wildlife and above-tree-line ecosystems due to mechanized recreation are already widespread throughout the Monashee Mountains. Yet the Eagle Pass cabin will obviously provide an important base for such recreation.

The Shuswap Trail Alliance (STA) might have reviewed the environmental risks of various types of recreation inherent in such a high-elevation, vulnerable environment as Eagle Pass Mountain.

But it didn’t – the STA only stated in the media that the cabin represents, “a key destination for trails in the area” and that the intent of cabin builders “was in keeping with the values of the area.”

Oh, what values ?

Do we naively believe that all outdoor recreation– such as hiking and mechanized recreation – leave identical ecological footprints in areas impacted by such activity ?

Surely, it’s self-evident that informed awareness of our environmental impact, and responsible self-restraint in our outdoor recreation has become a harsh reality for all of us – who in the past – and sadly, may still, believe nature is unlimited, and continue thinking that we and our actions are (somehow) separate from it.

Thirty-five years ago, I was part of a cabin-building project above tree-line in the South Monashees.

I now greatly regret its environmental impact, and accept that such projects are clearly ill-advised.

Isn’t it time to recognize our increasingly troubled relationship with nature and reduce troubles, not expand them ?

Tom Crowley

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