NCC’s Meech exit in Chelsea, Quebec just good stewardship

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by admin on December 16, 2009

The Editor,

Re: “NCC confirms surprise Hwy 5 exit to Meech Valley”, Dec. 2 edition

This new “surprise” exit in Chelsea, Quebec, is something that really should not have been a surprise at all. First, let us remove access to P16 from Cross Loop, from the discussion. Pine Rd is not about to get dismantled.  If only one exit is to service both parking lots, the increased traffic would put the safety and longevity of the Meech Creek Covered Bridge in jeopardy. I would then cringe to the see the financial cost and local dissection involved in the designing and building of a replacement structure to eliminate the warranted “real quagmire in late winter” (that Ken Bouchard calls Cross Loop dirt road in his Dec. 9 letter to the editor). Maybe the bridge can then become a pedestrian bridge. Maybe this is in fact the least expensive alternative. Maybe, this new exit is the crux in helping to save the covered bridge.

The beautiful renovation of the  Healey Cabin with a revised snowshoe trail network, as far as I understand, has always been a part of the park’s stated plan for Meech Creek. This focus does match the Gatineau Park Master Plan by attempting to relocate users from high-density areas to some lesser-used areas.

Ian Huggett (Dec. 9 Valley Voice column “Does NCC have plans to develop Meech?”) forgets that sustainable coexistence can be achieved in front-country areas of the park to maintain its ecological integrity.

Is not part of the park there to provide safe sustainable access to a nature area, where participation, learning, and enlightenment through physical contact is encouraged? Generations have passed through the park learning a little on how to live in balance with nature. Sometimes a new ski-basket, winter coat or rethinking trail access needs to be considered. Sometimes working with the land is required.

Balancing all opinions of users and non-users for land management usage is the formidable challenge. Although with some unfortunate negative side effects, a resurgence of healthy appreciation for recreation has had strong effects in helping with environmental awareness. The positive effect of stewardship is great.

See you on the trails where sustainable legs wander.

Carsten Podehl

Wakefield, Quebec