Every time I hike Mount Terry Fox, I wonder why that mountain isn’t better developed. Terry Fox is a Canadian icon, he has his own mountain. Why is it that the trail to the peak is so sketchy? Is it important that one in ten hikers turn an ankle for the mountain to faithfully honour Terry? Why does it start at the valley floor when nearby logging roads ascend another 400 meters?
Only recently was I brazen enough to hike down to Rainbow Falls in McBride, tromping past the giant private property sign. I have lived in this valley for 15 years and never have I been so overwhelmed by the beauty of a waterfall.
It is beyond words.
Seeing the water plummet down is like attending a Buddhist retreat. It is a sacred space, but as a consequence of being off limits and unsanctioned, the ground around the falls is desecrated. The only signs of upkeep on that sacred place is fresh paint… graffiti on surrounding rocks and caves.
Accessibility, forget about it. anybody that isn’t comfortable swinging on a rope or scrambling down a rocky embankment clutching at tree roots as a hand hold need not even try.
I know that Rainbow Falls is on private property. That is exactly why I am sure that land can be purchased, maybe not soon. But one day.
Mount Terry Fox and Rainbow Falls are but two of a multitude of undeveloped outdoor recreation opportunities in this valley. With some planning we could be ready to seize opportunities when they arise.
Local hiking groups have done an outstanding job of developing local trails. Anyone who has trekked up Lily Meadows in the alpine spring knows what I mean. The trails in both McBride and Valemount have taken massive volunteer contributions over years. Is it even possible to count the number or trees that have been cut, the hours brushing?
But as the next generation takes over this infrastructure we need to use the same ingenuity we have used to develop our mountain bike trail systems to create long lasting sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities.
We need a plan.