“I am passionate about Howe Sound, this place I call home. My travels have reinforced the need to advocate for this region, not only when it is under threat, but to complete the work started by others in the 90's that Howe Sound needs a comprehensive holistic plan so we do not lose what is special about this place. I have the time and skills to do this.” Ruth Simons, Executive Director for The Future of Howe Sound.
In 2011, a passionate team formed out of necessity. The Society’s vision grew from a realization that there is no single, long term, land management plan covering the communities and waters of Howe Sound. Instead there is a patchwork of municipalities and communities each with their own plans, tied together only by their geography.
“We need a plan that protects a holistic healthy ecosystem, continues to provides a natural community for future generations of families and preserves the pristine wilderness in harmony with nature." says Ruth Simons.
Why is this such a difficult undertaking?
The current BC Government will not initiate a Land Resources Management Plan for Howe Sound as they have done with most other regions in BC.
What is being done to protect Howe Sound?
Various groups have been allocating resources to move forward with the pieces of the planning process.
- The David Suzuki Foundation’s Howe Sound Team have completed a report on the value of the eco-systems assets.
- Marine Life Sanctuaries Society and other marine groups have successfully lobbied for expansion of the Halkett Bay Province Marine Park to protect the glass sponge reefs and further protection for all sponge reefs in Howe Sound is being lobbied for now.
- The Squamish Nation is committed to moving forward with a marine plan that will identify the important places that they would want protected. The Squamish Nation have been instrumental in stopping the logging of up to one third of Gambier Island recently, which for now, will protect the wild heart of Howe Sound.
- BC Parks and Recreation have completed the Sea to Sky Marine Trail that designates several parts of land for campsites for kayakers along the route.
There is ongoing restoration of the environment from past industrial projects, such as the remediation of the Woodfibre site, the restoration of a former log sort in the Squamish Estuary, the removal of dams on two rivers at Britannia and more. Many NGO's and the Vancouver Aquarium are involved building data and creating studies about Howe Sound all of which will be useful for when the governing bodies may enact a long term plan for protection.
What can one due to help?
Talk to your local leaders. Ensure they support resolutions,actions and opportunities to help protect Howe Sound. Hold them accountable for local planning to ensure the impacts on the rest of the Howe Sound region have been considered. Ask them how your community is impacting the Howe Sound region and how their actions are contributing to a long term sustainability of the region. Engage and learn about major projects that affect Howe Sound and input when the opportunity arises.
Get your hands dirty and help NGO's busy working on environmental projects in Howe Sound, such as the Squamish River Watershed Society. Get out on the waters in Howe Sound, hike the trails, subscribe to social media site and help out when the call to action arises.