Search string: "climber"Matches found: 5
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Climbers reject NCC response
Ottawa area climbers have voted against the NCC response to their climbing management plan, according to Ontario Climbing:
In March 2010, the National Capital Commission (NCC) released a land management plan for Gatineau Park which restricts climbing to the Western CWM west (North wall to Cave wall), Home Cliff west, Twin Ribs and Eastern Block. The NCC moved forward by installing No-Access signs, in late May at the majority of the climbing sites recognized in the previous access agreement. In addition, access to the Shrine parking lot on Chemin de la Montagne was removed.
To address the closures the Ottawa-Gatineau Climbers' Access Coalition (OGCAC) submitted a climbing management plan to the NCC. The scope of the plan was created to meet the ecological concerns raised by the NCC while maintaining access to climbing on the Eardley escarpment. This plan was endorsed by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. Unfortunately, the NCC largely rejected the plan.
On August 17, the OGCAC members gathered to vote on how to move forward. It was decided not to endorse the NCC response and that the OGCAC will maintain its position outlined in the management plan. Sadly, the limited success in securing climbing access in the park puts 60 years of Gatineau climbing at a crossroads.
Documentation related to the climbing dispute, including the NCC response to the climber management plan are available at the climber coalition site.
Ontario Climbing: Climbing Access in Gatineau Park Update [19 August 2010]
Gatineau Park News: Rock Climbing Update [18 August 2010]
Climber's Coalition: Update [29 July 2010]
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
"Misinformation and regressive management practices"
The Gatineau Park News blog has a transcript of a rock climber info session put on by the Climber's Coalition and presented by Eric Grenier. It lays out pretty clearly why user groups form and the challenges of dealing with the indifferent bureaucracy that is the NCC:
Back in 2005, the NCC attempted to ban climbing on the escarpment altogether. The Coalition was formed at that time.
Yes, step 1 in forming a group is for the NCC to ban an activity. Dog owners and mountain bikers are nodding their heads at this point.
Despite the fact that the NCC claims to be engaged in a process where community involvement is at work and where user input is valued, that hasn't been what we've noticed happen over the last couple of years.
[...] they're proposing to limit climbing access to the Twin Ribs, so Copacabana and Down Under, Eastern Block, and Home Cliff West, which is the Main Corner and the Peggy area. That's all the climbing that they are willing to allow on the Eardley Escarpment. Mostly the reasoning is that these are the areas that are already most affected.
In addition to this, they are also proposing to ban ice climbing, citing as justification some regulations regarding winter use trails being prohibited. Additionally, they've also already started to implement some of these initiatives that they have developed based on the recommendations in the park.
A lot of you are probably aware that the hang-gliding parking area has already been closed. A culvert's been dug, and there is no access to that parking lot anymore. They state that that parking lot was disused.
Obviously anyone who's actually been there knows that that parking lot and overflowing every weekend. They've done this without any consultation to anyone. It was a surprise when this happened. People just showed up and were wondering what was going on.
So that's the situation as it stands today. Essentially, the NCC seems to be just going ahead with whatever they've decided to do based on recommendations of a consultant in a process that hasn't had any meaningful input from the community.
[...]It's clear that the NCC doesn't understand what climbers are looking for in terms of recreational experience. It's clear from information in the report that they don't have any experience managing climbing activities. They don't have any expert knowledge on climbing. Some of the conclusions they've drawn are based on the impacts of climbing that they perceive seem to be related to climbing practices that are decades out of date.
So we have a lot of issues with what we don't know about the NCC's plans and what the NCC doesn't know about climbing.
In addition, there's been a very large disconnect in terms of how they've been interacting with the community. They, like I mentioned, they claim to have a transparent and community involved process and that simply hasn't borne out to be the case.
We're getting dictated to based on misinformation and regressive management practices that really aren't defensible in terms of any modern management that they bring us.
So our position, essentially then, is that the process hasn't happened. The process that needs to happen to develop proper climbing access management in the Gatineau Park simply hasn't happened. Nothing that the NCC has shown us demonstrates that they've been willing to actually engage in a meaningful process with us despite claims to the contrary.
Plus ça change.
Gatineau Park News: Monday's rock climber info session [21 Apr 2010]
Ottawa-Gatineau Climbers' Access Coalition
Climber's Coalition News: Just heard on CBC [23 Apr 2010]
Climber's Coalition News: Update [18 May 2010]
NCC Watch: Dog archive
NCC Watch: Champlain Bridge
Thursday, March 18, 2010
NCC releases Gatineau Park conservation plan
The NCC has announced another plan, this one for Gatineau Park - the Gatineau Park Ecosystem Conservation Plan. Apparently it will be essential reading up until 2035. As is usual for these plans, some group or other gets it in the neck; this time it's the rock climbers, who will see climbing routes developed over the past 50 years pared back to a handful. Apparently this is to protect and rehabilitate the Eardley Escarpment. From the CBC:
The commission is concerned climbers are trampling endangered plants and disrupting wildlife.
"The rock climbing is now happening all over the ecosystem and we need to address that," said Michel Viens, the NCC's senior manager of natural resources and land management.
Eric Grenier, chair of the Ottawa-Gatineau Climbers' Access Coalition, said the new restrictions are unfair because most climbers are already careful not to disturb the ecosystem.
"You'll be hard pressed to find a group of people who care more about the environment ... than people who spend as much of their free time in it as much as they can," said Grenier, who has been climbing for about six years.
The NCC's own eco-credentials have, of course, been severely eroded by years of road building and trail widening in the Park, as "Ray From Ottawa" explains in the comment thread:
This is the same NCC that allowed a large swath of the south end of the park to be cut down, blazed, bulldozed, dynamited, and paved to allow Blvd. Allumettieres (Highway 148 -- Google it) to pass through. The same NCC that brings in heavy machinery and tonnes of gravel every year to turn narrow walking paths into gravel highways for the fall leafers. The same NCC that cut down and paved even more sections of forest for the convenience of Mackenzie King Estate tea drinkers.
They aren't standing up for nature. They are using nature as an excuse to limit an activity they know little about, don't partake in, they don't like, and they don't make money from.
CBC: Eardley Escarpment climbing routes scaled back [18 Mar 2010]
Citizen: Gatineau Park rock climbing to be curtailed under new plan [18 Mar 2010]
Metro: Plan limits options for rock climbers [18 Mar 2010]
GPPC: Conservation Plan an Empty Shell (pdf) [17 Mar 2010]
GPPC: NCC policies threaten park [12 Mar 2010]
GPPC: GPPC Releases Full Park Conservation Plan [17 Apr 2010]
NCC: A natural space to pass on to future generations [17 Mar 2010]
Ottawa-Gatineau Climbers' Access Coalition
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Gatineau Park users take aim at NCC
The NCC heard from the public at its presentation of its latest Gatineau Park master plan. The plan calls for more user fees, less car traffic and more conservation areas to help preserve the park's ecosystems. In the process they will be banning or curtailing, somewhat arbitrarily, climbers and snowmobilers. This continues a trend of scapegoating park users, including mountain bikers, to distract from the NCC's own failures in managing the park. The NCC is, after all, planning to build a freeway through it, and recently finished building the Mackenzie King Estate access road in what was, for the NCC, record time.
Citizen: Gatineau Park users take aim at NCC [28 Oct 2004]
Friday, August 9, 2002
NCC roundly criticized over Gatineau Park
An editorial in the Citizen by Stephen Hazell, Executive Director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, outlines some of the NCC's failures:
New roads such as the Laramee-McConnell connection and Mackenzie King Estate access road, along with new housing development inside the park and on its periphery, continue to fragment wildlife habitat. Exploding levels of trail use by bicyclists, skiers, all-terrain vehicle riders, snowmobilers, rock climbers and hikers also increase the stress on ecosystems. If Gatineau Park was a national park, it would be on the critically endangered list.
National parks are protected by law, but not Gatineau Park. Incredibly, Parliament has enacted no law governing how land in the park is to be used. The NCC owns most of the land in the park and thus has some control over development. But decisions to build new roads or expand skiing facilities are made at the discretion of the NCC and in secret. And without a governing statute, the NCC lacks the tools to properly manage the park, even if it wanted to.
Hazell notes that Public consultations are under way for a new Gatineau Park Master Plan. CPAWS would like to see legislation that would make the park more like a real national park (as opposed to an NCC fiefdom). The NCC is currently backing a plan to build the McConnell-Laramee freeway through the park.