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The group during a brief break in the deluge.

The FMCBC held its Annual General Meeting May 27-29 in Vancouver with representatives attending from as far away as Prince George and Smithers. The BC Mountaineering Club (BCMC) hosted the weekend, coordinating billets for our out-of-town members and providing plenty of opportunities to learn, socialize, and of course get outdoors.

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Judith Robertson of the Caledonia Ramblers serves up a burger at the Meet and Greet.

The weekend kicked off with a Meet-and-Greet Friday evening at SWBC Recreation & Conservation Co-Chair Brian Wood’s house in Point Grey. Members—some of whom had been driving all day—arrived to a feast including potluck salads, homemade macaroni and cheese, and of course, a big pot of Brian’s signature vegetarian chilli. Many BCMC members also attended, learning a bit more about the organization some of them are unwittingly a part of, and swapping tips for the best hikes in the area. Thanks to Brian and his wife Norma for hosting such a great evening!

The next day, the directors convened in the old Student Union Building on the UBC campus for the AGM. As is often the case in Vancouver, the rain was pelting down and many arrived drenched from the short walk from the parkade—only to find that there was a significant leak once they got to the room!

Despite the rain, directors had many lively and productive discussions. Topics included but were not limited to: bylaws, board structure, and trail markers. (Details from these discussions will be posted in the AGM minutes shortly.) Dave Wharton from the Member Club Grant Committee also presented the awards to this year’s grant recipients. Congratulations to the following clubs — we look forward to hearing more about these projects later this summer:

The Vancouver Rock Climbing Group was awarded $800 towards their Climb and Conquer Summer Leadership Camp (read more about it here).

The BC Mountaineering Club was awarded $1,200 towards their Watersprite Lake Hut Project.

The Fraser Headwater Alliance was awarded $1,700 towards improvements to the Goat River Trail.

The Mount Remo Backcountry Society was awarded $820 towards their Larsen Ridge Outhouse Upgrade.

Executive Director Jodi Appleton also presented some awards for distinguished service to three long-serving directors in recognition of their hard work and commitment to the FMCBC and non-motorized outdoor recreation in BC. Congratulations and huge thanks to Alex Wallace, Dave King and Scott Webster. 

Scott Webster, Dave King and Alex Wallace were all honoured for their long-time service to the FMCBC.

Scott Webster, Dave King and Alex Wallace were all honoured for their long-time service to the FMCBC.

Since the rain had not abated by afternoon, the group opted to stay inside and allow more time for the scheduled presentations (this should tell you just how bad it was out there!). First up, Tennessee Trent from Recreation Sites and Trails BC gave a rundown of the Occupiers Liability Act. He explained some strategies for managing risk for public recreation, including ensuring users are willingly assuming all risks and trying to apply a lower duty of care whenever possible.

Next up, Powell River Parks and Wilderness Society President (and new FMCBC director!) Eagle Walz gave a presentation on the evolution of the Sunshine Coast Trail from initial idea to the country’s longest (180 km) hut-to-hut hiking trail. He spoke about the importance of working with industry and other stakeholders to accomplish their project. Though it is not exactly the type of wilderness trail they’d originally envisioned, Eagle recognized it is an incredible achievement that “takes the long view” where “old growth” is concerned (there are a few cut blocks and newly-planted sections along the trail).

Finally, Nowell Senior from the Caledonia Ramblers gave a very touching and inspiring presentation on the Ancient Forest Trail and Universal Boardwalk, which has been in the works for the past several years. Nowell said when they started out, they had very little to work with except their own enthusiasm, and thanks to the hard work of hundreds of volunteers and the generosity of local businesses, they have two loops and an accessible boardwalk that sees thousands of visitors from all over the world. 

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Tennessee Trent from Recreation Sites and Trails BC giving a presentation on the Occupiers Liability Act.

After a brief break in the rain (during which we hurriedly snapped a group photo!) the skies opened once more, right in time for attendees to walk to Mahony and Sons for dinner, and then back to the SUB for the evening program. Peter Wood from CPAWS, Chris Ludwig from Garibaldi 2020, outdoor blogger and photographer Steve Jones and our very own Bob St. John all presented on the topic of commercial operations in public parks, before engaging the audience in a panel discussion.

Sunday brought better weather and two great hikes: one up the West Canyon Trail in Golden Ears Park and another along a portion of the Howe Sound Crest Trail from Cypress Provincial Park. A few attendees took advantage of the convention to attend another AGM for Hike BC.

Thank you to the BCMC for organizing a great weekend and to everyone who helped out (especially Norma Charles, Chris Ludwig, Dave Scanlon, and our unexpected, but much appreciated volunteer, Judith Robertson). We had a fantastic time and are already looking forward to doing it all again May 27, 2017!