Lately, I’ve been feeling a little overprotective.
I want people to get outside, connect with nature, and enjoy themselves. I really do.
But when I see trash along the sides of trails or read stories of ill-equipped hikers using up SAR resources, I’ll admit that part of me thinks, “Just stay home, folks! You’re hurting yourselves and others. You’re hurting nature.”
Case in point: the River of Golden Dreams, a.k.a., Whistler’s worst-kept secret. I wasn’t actually aware that the ROGD was a “hidden” gem – I just knew it was a lot of fun, but that too many people get trashed and cause trash on the river and/or end up freezing their butts off when the Explorer 100 pops (rookie mistake – invest in the 200) and they end up stuck in water that is as cold as ice (or glaciers, if you want to get technical).
The Resort Municipality of Whistler recently released a tongue-in-cheek video inviting people to have fun on the river, but to be smart about it. I applauded this reasonable precaution.
Then – a day later – the Daily Hive Vancouver shared a photo of the river with a caption proclaiming it as a “must visit” lazy river. Hundreds of comments followed (e.g., “@friendnamehere, want to try this next weekend? It’s in Whistler!”).
Now, this would be no big deal if these new visitors a) staggered themselves so as not to overwhelm the fragile ecosystems of the river; b) followed the beloved pack-it-in-pack-it-out mentality; c) floated the river safely and soberly (or at least soberly enough to avoid making dumb decisions). Unfortunately, experience tells me that this is usually not the case.
To their credit, it looks like the Daily Hive has since removed the post (or at least I’m not able to find it). But I’m sure there were a few folks at the muni banging their heads against their desks when they saw the post.
It’s a little concerning that when I thought about blogging these photos from a recent hike I went on with friends, I hesitated. It’s not one of the “big” local hikes (The Chief, Black Tusk, Panorama Ridge, Wedge… do I even need to mention Joffre Lakes?) that, as evidenced by crammed parking lots and littered trails, have been discovered by the masses. I worry that if I give details about this hike, it will go the way of the Joffre – and I’ll be partially to blame.
This feels silly. First of all, it’s not MY hike. I don’t own the land and I didn’t build any of the trails. Second, there’s plenty written about the area online – heck, we used posts written up by other people to do our own recon. Third, have I not posted in excessive detail about other hikes before? Four, if I’m so worried about it, why post about it at all?
I guess I just want to share Cedric’s wicked photos of our beautiful neck of the woods with the folks who read this blog (i.e., my family). I do encourage people to play outside and appreciate the beauty of the Sea to Sky – but to do so smartly, safely, and sustainably (ooh… that could be a tourism board motto!)