by Andru McCracken
McBride is on its way to securing access to the South Dore Road and the fantastic outdoor recreation found beyond.
The alpine area is known for its glaciers, waterfalls and rock formations and the hiking, camping, skiing opportunities surrounding two backcountry cabins – but the forestry road used to access it has been under threat for a number of years.
Robson Valley Tourism has applied for a license of occupation for the last 5 km of the 18km access road, a deal where the Province would help maintain the other 13km for nonindustrial traffic and keep in place three bridges that would be otherwise be removed.
The application is the result of the tireless work of local volunteers and the cooperation of the Ministry of Forests, says Bill Arnold, chair of Robson Valley Tourism, a committee of McBride’s Chamber of Commerce.
He said they used the same strategy a beaver uses to fall a big tree.
“We just kept chewing at it,” said Arnold.
Arnold said they approached the Ministry of Forests about using the money set aside for deactivation to bring the road up to a condition that would handle ‘normal vehicle traffic.”
Arnold said mindful maintenance of culverts, brushing and grading every three years should keep costs to a minimum for the committee, which plans to apply for grants.
“There is access to hiking trails and driving access to some very beautiful areas, particularly in the fall,” he said.“We just felt it was important to keep this road open for the enjoyment of our touring friends and for the enjoyment of people live here.”
Linda Fry of the Chamber of Commerce said they have spent over two years negotiating with the Ministry of Forests, but the road deal could be precedenting-setting for communities in B.C.
“This might be a bit of a trial for everyone,” said Fry. “We can’t keep every forestry road open, but some have more to contribute than others.”
Jeremy Uppenborn, Senior Public Affairs Officer for the Ministry of Forests said the application was just recently received and is still being processed.
“The Ministry recognizes the importance of the Dore River to community tourism opportunities and will continue to work with the Robson Valley Tourism Committee,” said Uppenborn.