On March 5th, 2021, BC Parks released their Draft Visitor Use Management Strategy for public comment.

The summary of my feedback is as follows:
1) This strategy is a long way from completion. If published in its current form, it would not provide actionable guidance to rangers or clarity to the public about how to set and adjust policies on an ongoing basis. There is very heavy reliance on words such as “explore,” “examine,” “determine,” and “consider”.

2) Implementing the proposed day-pass system at Joffre Lakes (the most robust trail in the region and one of the very few with…

This post is intended for anyone who is considering backcountry winter travel beyond the official winter trails in Cypress Provincial Park and Seymour Provincial Park. Two examples of destinations that lie beyond the marked winter trails are St. Marks Summit and Tim Jones Peak.

The advice from BC Parks is that travel beyond the marked winter trails is not recommended and every year people are injured or lose their lives when they travel beyond these signs.

The purpose of this post is to provide perspective on the mindset and preparation that is required to travel responsibly if you venture into…

Each year, I choose a handful of my favourite photos and reflect on the year that was. There is a lot to think about this year but gratitude is the word that boils to the top. Faced with a pandemic, many people in our community took on increased risks to ensure that daily life could continue in a somewhat normal fashion for society as a whole. I hope all those people get a good break towards the end of 2021. The pool of photos was a little smaller this year but we did manage to have some great days in the mountains.

For the past six years, I’ve been nominated by to be a candidate in the Mountain Equipment Co-op Board of Directors Election and was on the ballot for four of those elections. The results for the 2020 election have not yet been released. During this period, I have had extensive discussions with members across the country, have asked questions at every Annual General Meeting, and have carefully reviewed the financial statements and annual reports. This is all to say that I have studied the recent history of the co-op in great detail.

This morning, the Supreme Court of British Columbia…

On Sep 14th, the Board of Mountain Equipment Co-op announced that they would be selling all of the assets to a private equity firm under Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act proceedings. I wrote previously about this here (estimates of how much money would be required) and here (the importance of focusing on creating a positive outcome.)

In week that has followed, over 115,000 people have signed a petition expressing their desire to “Save MEC” and messages of disappointment and concern have been published by prominent organizations and individuals including Vancity Credit Union, Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) and the British Columbia…

On Sep 14th, it was announced that Mountain Equipment Co-operative would be acquired by a private company through a CCAA proceeding and would cease to be a co-operative. Since the announcement was made, over 84,000 members from across the company have expressed a desire to find a way to keep MEC running as a co-operative organization.

Petition here — Please share and sign:

On September 16th, I shared some rough calculations to try to estimate the order-of-magnitude of investment that would be required from members to re-capitalize the co-op as an alternative to selling it to a private entity. …

Sep 16, 2020

My attempt at a summary of the current MEC situation is below. Full disclaimer: There may be some mistakes. The documents and my knowledge are incomplete and I’m exhausted. At the same time, I am deeply energized by the thousands of members (including the Premier of British Columbia,) who are stepping forward and asking for increased accountability regarding this sale.

Note that the documents can be found here: https://www.alvarezandmarsal.com/MEC

Even shorter version: When combined with a modest bridge loan from the government, I think that it would be feasible for members to recapitalize MEC so that it…

Sometime in the next year, we will have a provincial election in BC. My hope is that all of the parties will present a compelling vision for how we can make increased investments in parks and recreation. For the purposes of this post, parks and recreation includes BC Parks and BC Recreation Sites and Trails. (BC Recreation Sites and Trails is a little-known organization with almost no funding that partners extensively with volunteers to manage around 2000 recreation sites and trails across the province.)

Although I have many personal opinions on the optimal approach, this post is intended to be…

In the spring of 2018, I took the time to read every one of the 1600 Search and Rescue (SAR) incident summaries for the previous year and I wrote up a blog post with some observations. To be clear, I have no affiliation with any SAR team. This was part of a larger public advocacy campaign to encourage the government to increase funding for SAR volunteers. …

Steve Jones

Steve does a lot of hiking, skiing, biking and photography in British Columbia and beyond. https://www.facebook.com/stevenjonesmountainphotography/

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