A year ago, I wrote a lengthy story that made public an application to remove land from Stawamus Chief Provincial Park in Squamish. While the Sea to Sky Gondola faced opposition from some environmental and outdoor-recreation groups, the project won the support of the B.C. Liberal government, which last June took a 2.36-hectare corridor out of the popular Class A park.
Well, construction is now underway and May 2014 is the gondola's targeted opening date. Last weekend, I hiked the park's Upper Shannon Falls Trail, which crosses the 20-metre-wide, 1.18-kilometre-long strip of removed parkland, now designated as the Stawamus Chief Protected Area.
These pictures show what I found. The narrow clearcut is located just metres away from the first viewpoint on the trail. When the towers go up, hikers will walk under the gondola before reaching the viewpoint, which provides a great look at Squamish Harbour.
While the gondola's impact on the Upper Shannon Falls Trail will obviously be disappointing to some hikers, others are looking forward to the additional recreational opportunities that will be created by the project.