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Phantom Lake - the danger of keeping areas "secret"
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ArticleId: 2512 Written: 2009.07.21 by: Paul Kubik

Ramsay Dyer sent me a link to the Clowhom IPP. I was looking through the public comments section and I found one comment from a Sechelt area resident illuminating. He stated that the Phantom Lake area has been "our jewel" and "we sort of protected it by not encouraging people to come to Phantom Lake". Perhaps now, that strategy has backfired.

If you look at what we accomplished in the Sigurd Lake area with the trail, it's a different story. Largely due to BC Parks influence during the wilderness advisory committee hearings in the mid 1990s we got a 25 meter buffer area established around the trail. This was a concession from Interfor but we did not get a ban on logging. There was a plan to log the lower trail in 1998. It never happened. It was probably easier to keep logging the upper Elaho instead. Then the Squamish Nation identified Sigurd Creek as a "wild spirit" place and closely followed it by taking over the adjacent TFL 38 from Interfor. We don't have formal preservation of the area but we do have public access and we still have a largely intact wilderness free of the scourge of mechanized users.

The impact on Phantom Lake from the IPP can be debated. It may be small or moderate but the facts are that no one goes there except by float plane and there will be some disturbance of the natural environment from the project. What would have the effect been instead if there was a good long distance hiking trail to the lake? Who exactly were the Sechelt residents protecting the lake from?


Comments

#1333 - 2009.09.30 Robin Tivy - The myth of keeping areas secret
This example illustrates exactly why it is stupid for mountaineers and hikers to try and keep some area "secret", all for themselves. There is no such thing as secret when it comes to logging, hydro development, etc. since the stuff is on maps. Yet over the past 30 years, I've heard many people express this idea of keeping trails secret. They are against building trails, and against publicizing trails.

They always envision that if the publicize an area, then it will become overrun like Mount Seymour on a Sunday afternoon or something. In reality, I don't know of a single area in all BC that has become overrun after being publicized on the internet, or anywhere else. Yet the myth continues. For example, I've written up dozens of detailed trip reports for my favorite areas in all the world, and yet I've never seen any of them become crowded. The most that happens is that a few parties a year go to each one of them.

It is far better to let these areas become known to like minded individuals, and encourage more people to get out to nice areas, and thus increase the overall political clout we desperately need to promote this type of activity.