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Outdoors advocate calls on province to make trails safer for tourists

Last Updated Feb 5, 2019 at 6:12 am PDT

FILE: Members of North Shore Rescue. (Courtesy North Shore Rescue)

Outdoors advocate calling on B.C. to do more to keep tourists safe, after hiker from Mexico went missing on Cypress

A leader in B.C.'s outdoor community would like to see more investment in tourist-focused safety around the province

NORTH SHORE (NEWS 1130) – Beautiful British Columbia can be just that, but it can also be deadly.

That’s why an advocate is calling on the province to do more to keep international travellers, who choose to enjoy B.C.’s outdoors, safe.

The call comes just one day after a tourist was reported as missing on the North Shore.

“First when I heard, I was obviously concerned,” Steve Jones recalled. “It’s a super dangerous area that’s claimed a number of lives.”

The woman was part of a group of three visitors from Mexico, who got lost on Cypress Mountain Monday evening while snowshoeing St. Mark’s Summit along the Howe Sound Crest Trail. She got separated, but fortunately somehow had made her own way home.

Upon hearing the good news, Jones says his focus shifted.

He notes that despite there being a growing number of international visitors to the North Shore — and elsewhere in B.C.’s backcountry — trail markers, maps, and safety messages are generally only available in English.

“The government spends a lot of money advertising and attracting people from other countries, but we don’t spend any money, through B.C. Parks or any other agency, kind of making the signs available in other languages or making safety information available to people coming from other places.”

Jones says many tourists get into trouble because they don’t know what they’re getting into when they head to local mountains.

Along with seeing messaging in other languages, Jones says he would like to see more investment in trails, and even the “simple” things, like outhouse.

“We just need to think if this many people are going to come here, how can we make sure that when they get here they can enjoy the area responsibly?”