Backcountry skiers pass an avalanche chart as they go into the Hankin-Evelyn Recreation Area.

Backcountry skiers pass an avalanche chart as they go into the Hankin-Evelyn Recreation Area.

Lack of consultation leads to Hankin-Evelyn misunderstanding

The Hankin-Evelyn recreation area has Evelyn residents speaking out about the side-effects of the growing project.

The Hankin-Evelyn recreation area has caused some confusion lately, as the community of Evelyn speaks out about the side-effects of the growing project.

Evelyn resident Dale Glass and neighbors met with Nadina/Skeena Recreation Officer, Kevin Eskelin last week to hash out some of the “misunderstanding” taking place since signs were posted designating the area as non-motorized.

“Initially the concerns were that the farmers there used quads and motorbikes to check on their cattle, and one day, all of a sudden, there are signs put up there saying it’s non-motorized,” Glass said.

Glass added when the project was originally starting up the rec. officer “never consulted with the local community at all.”

But, Eskelin says it’s a simple misunderstanding of what is still motorized and non-motorized areas.

“It’s mainly a misunderstanding,” Eskelin explained. “We’re just going extends some proper information and I’m pretty sure it will be fine.”

Consultation was part of the process, Eskelin noted, but despite their best efforts some in the local community never had their say on the matter.

Still that is just one of the symptoms. Glass said when they cut runs in what is called Gladding, they leave good timber behind and seem to have permits to do so. But, he mentioned one story of a fellow who cut down a cottonwood tree and soon after had Forestry Services investigating, wanting to know who cut down the tree.

“There’s just issues of a double standard here is basically what a lot of it is,” Glass said.

Despite the fact some people feel the Hankin-Evelyn site is infringing on their community “there’s actually no particular impact on that community at the end of the day,” said Eskelin.

“Maybe a little bit of increased traffic and perhaps more consistent plowing of the road up to the gravel pit where the trail head is.”

The rec. site has experienced solid growth in the last few years. Offering a pristine area for backcountry seekers to lose themselves in the never-ending playground of ski runs, up-tracks and hiking trails now sprinkled along the Hakin-Evelyn slopes.

The intention was, Eskelin said, that everything that was built, as part of the project is to be managed as non-motorized recreation and that remains the case.

“There are some concerns about non-motorized designation, that’s more of a misunderstanding because all roads remain motorized so it was just a misinterpretation of some signs,” Eskelin said.

However, Glass still thinks the area is too large and will continue to have an impact on his community, though he said in the last week the confusion is starting to be ironed out.

“A lot of that stuff has already been addressed just in the last week where we got a letter from Eskelin telling us the places we’ve been using motorized vehicles are still okay to be using,” said Glass. “But, because they didn’t have a meeting there was a lot of misunderstanding.”