Opinion: The price of popularity

The Vedder River Greenway is a spectacular and cherished asset that will continue to grow and improve. But it needs protection

It is unfortunate that the actions of a few can affect the enjoyment of the many.

But they do.

The most recent example is the closure of a portion of the Vedder Rotary Trail that had, until recently, allowed vehicular traffic.

A gate that’s been there for years was finally closed recently as the City of Chilliwack responded to ongoing concerns about garbage, illegal camping and environmental damage.

The move has sparked a petition.

But it has also drawn support.

And not surprisingly.

Although undoubtedly there were many who used the route to access a more secluded portion of the river, there were also those who abused the privilege. Garbage was left behind, parties were evident, and the impact of overnight camping could be found among the trash and human feces that remained.

That portion of the trail has also become just too busy for vehicles. As the popularity of the Vedder trail network grows, so too does the traffic. Cyclists, hikers and even horses are regular users of the trail, making cars and trucks an unwelcome and dangerous addition.

Long term plans will make that trail even busier. Those plans include a bridge across the river to link the trail networks on the north and south sides.

The Vedder River Greenway is a spectacular and cherished asset that will continue to grow and improve.

But as its popularity increases so too must our efforts to protect and preserve it.

If that means the loss of vehicular access, it seems a price many are willing to pay.