Castle Update

Posted Mar 13, 2017

A brief update concerning CASA’s engagement with and concerns about the Castle Provincial and Wildland Parks management plan.

We are considered to be a stakeholder in the planning process and have been working with the planners to understand the detailed meaning, intent, and potential implementation(s) of the plan. At the same time, we have been connecting with other organizations and the climbing community to make sure we are not working at cross-purposes. We will continue to do this kind of work both in the remaining time for public comment and afterward.

We have particular concerns with maintaining reasonable and sustainable access to both the Castle River area around Blue Angel and areas south, along with the Drywood creek area. These access issues are not just for the short term, it needs to be sustainable and allow for growth. At the same time, CASA has strong objections about the characterization of climbing as an extreme sport and the implications for management that are implied in the plan. From our conversations with the government, we believe these concerns can be resolved.

Our understanding is that a revision to the draft plan is being released shortly, and we are waiting to see what is in the revision. It is most likely the changes will not reflect our input but rather address more general concerns about the plan. It should be the final revision, so we can then move forward with a more concrete detailed position. More importantly, we will be asking the climbing community to be more engaged with input and feedback about the plan.

In the next week or so we will be asking the climbing community to send letters to the government about the Castle Provincial and Wildland parks and management plan. We will provide a letter with some key points that people can use as a template or send in its entirety. Although our specific concerns and interests are relatively narrow compared to the entire management plan, we can be very effective provided we have a strong response from the community. We are also encouraging the community to participate in the information and feedback sessions. Quite simply, we’ve found that the climbing community can be effective advocates in these kind of face to face sessions.

Our having a strong voice about access and park management issues will not only affect the shape of Castle Parks management plans, it will also shape future provincial recreational management plans. It is important that we are heard on these issues now, so the government will aware of them and consider them in their future recreational management plans.