The RDEK board is supporting a proposal to develop a parking lot and trail access to a climbing area near St. Mary’s Lake, however, final approval for the initiative rests with the province. Photo submitted.

The RDEK board is supporting a proposal to develop a parking lot and trail access to a climbing area near St. Mary’s Lake, however, final approval for the initiative rests with the province. Photo submitted.

RDEK board supports St. Mary Lake rock climbing referral

Final decision on trail access, parking lot issues are made by the provincial government ministry

The RDEK board is lending its support to a proposal that is requesting permission from the province to develop a rock climbing area near St. Mary Lake.

The request seeks permission to develop a 2.8-kilometre trail into an area for rock climbing, as well as the construction of a pit toilet and a parking lot adjacent to St. Mary Lake Rd.

Marc Trudeau, who is petitioning the province on behalf of the EKCA, wrote that much of the trail will be constructed on a decommissioned powerline right-of-way for minimal ground disturbance, in order to access a rock crag.

“The intent of the Land Referral is to designate the area shown as the Bootleg Climbing Area with an access trail and parking area, to protect and preserve this public recreation resource,” he wrote, in a letter. “The proposed recreation site, access trail and parking area are located entirely on Crown Land. There is high potential for this area to be managed for value-added public recreation while increasing the values of public safety, environmental protection and recreation experience.”

While the RDEK board supported the proposal, the final decision to approve the request rests with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Additionally, the ministry can also dictate if changes to the proposal need to be made, as one RDEK director noted that some residents in the St. Mary Lake area had some concerns about the size of parking lot, among others.

Specifically, the proposal is seeking a designation of an established recreation site under ministry legislation, which would give Recreation Sites and Trails BC the tools to work collaboratively with the climbing association for area management and improvements.

The EKCA was established six years ago and has approximately 150 members, according to the application.