It has come to our attention that the beginning of the Terry Fox Trail just north of Valemount has been logged. This spring the trailhead was no longer accessible to passenger vehicles, and the trail was cut over. Stumps now decorate the sides of the first part of the trail.
This seems shameful given that the heroic mission of Terry Fox still serves as such an inspiration to people no matter where they live in the world. The Terry Fox Run, named in honour of Canadian amputee Terry Fox who attempted to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research, is no longer just a Canadian tradition. This year will mark the 34th anniversary of his run, and countries around the world still stage annual events in support of Terry’s dream of finding a cure for cancer.
The Terry Fox Trail is in the management area belonging to the Valemount Community Forest, so the responsibility for what happens to this trail rests with our community. Our hope is that the people of the Robson Valley will sometime soon begin to value their part of this amazing Terry Fox legacy. Right now it seems that our community has chosen to disregard some important other values and to ignore land use planning for this area in its haste to accommodate beetle-mania logging. Even a trail as internationally significant as the Terry Fox Trail has been cut over and logged.
We feel fortunate that British Columbia chose our valley as the place to have a mountain named and a provincial park designated to commemorate Terry Fox. The Terry Fox Trail connects this mountaintop park to access near the highway, where commemorative signs celebrate Terry’s achievement.
Certainly, there are people who believe that the trail is too hard and long anyway. They feel that a logging road access higher up would be better. It is indeed a hard trail, a real challenge. It is a perfect memorial trail for a person who took on the incredible challenge of running across Canada on one leg. It is a trail that can show people they can always do more than they think they can.
Valemount has spent nearly a million dollars on a visitor centre to attract tourists to this area. Yet what is going to be left for tourists to do when they come out of the building? A few kilometers away from town is the neglected and logged Terry Fox Trail. We ought to be ashamed.
What could be more significant to tourists from all over Canada or the world than to hike even a part of the Terry Fox Trail? No amount of public relations rhetoric by industry or pine beetle propaganda can convince some of us that it is necessary to sacrifice the Terry Fox Trail to logging. If Valemount has any respect for Terry Fox, or if this town has any real desire to be a tourist destination, it should play up this trail, not cut it down.
Barbara Zimmer, Vice President
Fraser Headwaters Alliance