Garibaldi At Squamish Assessment Report
Prepared by the Environmental Assessment Office, May 17, 2010 and considered by the Minister of Environment, Honourable Mary Polak when approving the issuance of the Environmental Assessment Certificate in January 2016.
The 2003 Application predicts a maximum of 240 hectares, or about 5%, of the high and moderately high winter habitat for mountain goats within the study area would be impacted by ski run development. Aerial surveys suggest that only a small portion of this potentially impacted habitat is actually used by mountain goats. The base development would potentially impact another 57 hectares of this high and moderately high winter habitat. Impacts on mountain goat habitat during the growing season are estimated to be similar.
This illustrates the double standard applied by BC Parks and FLNRO to the alleged impact of hikers passing no closer that 300 meters to mountain goat winter range designated MQ-4 on Darling Ridge. The Natural Resource Officers claim the impact from those hikers who are nowhere near goat winter range is so great that hiking the ridge is an unacceptable activity with dire consequences for mountain goats. Yet, on Brohm Ridge, apparently goat winter range on the order of 300 hectares can be overrun with ski area and base area development without detrimental impact to mountain goats. That includes industrial activity, mechanized operation, avalanche control using explosives, helicopter access for operations and heli-skiing. (Yes, heli-skiing! Apparently, GAS factors into its visitation number 1650 person days of heli-skiing per year.) Annual visitation numbers published by GAS estimate 700,000 to 1,000,000 annual visitors. The EAO says it is a completely acceptable impact on MQ-1, the largest mountain goat winter range in the Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton corridor. But, a few hikers a week on Darling Ridge? The impact is so devastating to mountain goats that it cannot be allowed.
From GAS' own consulting firm, ENKON, no one has any idea where the goats in MQ-1 go when they disperse for summer forage. They don't know where the birthing sites are. The don't know where the goats are. They don't seem to know very much. But they know enough to know there is no impact on mountain goats.
Comments by Mountain Resort Branch for GAS Environmental Assessment Review
|Garibaldi at Squamish Environmental Assessment Review Supplemental Information Application Mountain Resort Branch, FLNR – Comments – June 22, 2015 (253 KB)|
On page 2, Mountain Resorts Branch comments on Garibaldi At Squamish's projection of 1650 heli-skier visits per year.
This single projection by GAS confirms that which is so obvious to anyone in the backcountry community. GAS does not want just lower Brohm Ridge outside the existing park boundary, it wants all of Brohm Ridge, Warren Glacier and Mount Garibaldi as part of its operation.
It will accomplish that by first going for heli-skiing permits inside Garibaldi Park on Mount Garibaldi and Mamquam Icefield. These are the closest and best heli-skiing locations close to Brohm Ridge. After a few years, whereby the public has been "softened up" with mechanized access inside the park, it will ultimately seek to expand the controlled recreation area onto Mount Garibaldi itself by taking the entire northeast quadrant of the mountain out of the park. Lifts will run from the base at the head of Culliton Creek up Warren Glacier to the top of Mount Garibaldi. Another lift will extend from The Sharkfin to the top of Warren Glacier. The CRA expansion will effectively sever Elfin Lakes from the rest of Garibaldi Park. The Garibaldi Neve traverse will run right through the CRA. And GAS will do this the way Whistler-Blackcomb grabs huge chunks out of Garibaldi Park - behind closed doors with the B.C. Cabinet and the blessing of thousands of powder-starved recreational skiers.
Access through the CRA will be restricted to ticket holders. The only backcountry approach to Mount Garibaldi will be the upper Bishop Glacier on the east side of the mountain. It will no longer be possible to ascend Mount Garibaldi from Warren Glacier.
Mountain goats will have long disappeared from this part of the park. They simply will not be able to tolerate the year round presence of thousands of humans, mechanized activity, habitat loss and the severance of the migration corridor between winter and summer range.
The softening up process alluded to will occur by marketing and promoting extreme heli-skiing and snowboarding. There will be photo ops, financial support to big names willing to lend a hand by promoting their careers at the expense of the park.
Garibaldi At Squamish Mountain Goat Assessment
|Garibaldi at Squamish Mountain Goat Assessment|