Bike jumps have been part of the gulch for years | Letter
Editor, The Beacon:
I have been watching these discussions about the BMX jumps in the gulch from the sideline. I'll be honest, I have considered responding to the accusations that these jumps were "vandalism," but Phillip Karl's letter back on April 16 eloquently stated what I was thinking, so I let it go.
But last week's article titled "Report: Jumps are serious damage to Japanese Gulch" [The Beacon, front page, April 30] really ticked me off. Accusations that the BMX course "was constructed recently so it could be grandfathered in the Japanese Gulch Master Plan" are so ridiculous that I can't believe they are given credibility.
Anyone who has been back in the gulch in the last five years knows that course has been around for at least that long. I have a photo of a bicyclist coming off one of the jumps from 2011, and I can show anyone interested exactly which jump that picture is of – it still exists today.
The idea that a bunch of kids saw that the city was acquiring the property and then set about building a BMX course to get it grandfathered in as part of the master plan is, well, the stuff of conspiracy theory.
Can any of us who have teenagers believe that a group of them could be so savvy as to pull something like this off? I think not.
Look, I understand the report says that the "jumps appear recent and ongoing," but the only part that I agree with is that they have been ongoing (as my photo shows, they are not "recent").
The kids who have built these jumps are constantly working on these and improving them. I'm not arguing that there hasn’t been some damage done to the woods in that immediate area (which is currently only a tiny portion of the 140 acres the city purchased), but seriously, anytime I can associate the words "kids" and "work" together, I'm not going to discourage it.
I don't endorse damage of any kind to the forest, but the solution isn’t to destroy what has already been built and ban a recreation that many enjoy. The BMX course should be considered as part of the master plan. With proper planning and guidance, this could be done correctly and safety, without incurring any more damage.
I know people will still argue that we shouldn't allow something that is potentially dangerous in the gulch, but I'm not going to address that here.
Honestly, if you are that worried about protecting your child from every possible risk in the world and don’t see the benefits of providing them with opportunity to try something new (especially when it doesn't involve electronics), then I'm not going to win you over with any argument I can make.
One of my favorite spots to go in the summer is the area between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains: Great views of the mountains, Fitzsimmons Creek rushing under picturesque bridges – and a BMX course where kids perform incredible athletic feats.
If it can work there, I can't see why it can't here.