Opinion

Creating a park is not going to protect Mount Prevost

The worst news I have read in many years was on the front page of the Jan. 18 News Leader Pictorial.

It seems people who are better talkers than thinkers want to sacrifice nature, including rare wildflowers, on Mount Prevost to make a park for swarms of people to have picnics and gawk at the scenery.

I was shocked and thoroughly disgusted by reading people in positions of influence and authority apparently calmly discussed the financial cost of exploiting the mountain without giving any thought to the fact the summit area has important populations of uncommon and potentially endangered wild plants.

The thought that a park can destroy nature may seem strange. We are constantly being told that parks are there to protect nature. Do people really believe that?

Watch their behaviour in a park. They believe a park is a place where they go to enjoy themselves. In a park they happily trample all over nature.

I can hear someone saying “but what about the seniors?”

I will be 87 in three months and I have a bad right knee and a bad left foot, but by making the effort could still get up there. Please don’t sacrifice nature on the mountain to make it easier for me. When I can no longer get up there I want to have the knowledge that nature on the mountain is safe from being trampled into a brown pulp.

Is there something special about nature on Mount Prevost? Nature is special everywhere, but it is especially special when it includes living things that are unique or very rare- things that may disappear from the world if they are destroyed in that one spot.

The summit area of Mount Prevost has plants that may fit that description, though it is difficult to know exactly how rare a plant is. Certainly the world will be a slightly poorer place if they are sacrificed to provide a place for picnicking or gawking at the scenery.

I notice in the newspaper account, there is a claim that better access to the war memorial is needed.

Does anyone really believe the courageous men who built that memorial expected or desired that crowds of people would visit the memorial and trample the nearby vegetation? If that was what they wanted, they would have built the monument in downtown Duncan, where their work would have been much easier and much safer.

Surely they expected that people would look up to the memorial from the surrounding areas, and remember the brave men and women in whose honour it was erected.

I hope to read in future North Cowichan has decided to leave Mount Prevost untouched, and has approved in principle the creation of the two or three parks that could be created by using the money saved by not damaging the plants on Mount Prevost. Those parks need not be situated where there are rare plants.

Art Guppy is longtime area resident who has documented rare plants like the yellow glacier lily, a cross between the kinnikinnick and the hairy manzinita and  a cross between the chocolate lily and the rice root at the summit of Mount Prevost.

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