Wildfires only the last straw for Cariboo tourism

A letter to the editor of the 100 Mile Free Press by Rita Giesbrecht

To the editor:

Your front page story has Donna Barnett ‘fighting mad’ but her stated concerns are disingenuous at best.

We are a business with significant presence in the visitor economy and the effect of the wildfire season on that sector is in the nature of the ‘last straw’. If we want to analyze why tourism in this region does not have the resilience to withstand one bad season, we have to look further back than this year’s fires.

Doing that, we see irresponsible and exploitative forestry practices that have crippled and bankrupted wilderness resorts and outfits that rely on their forest tenures, by allowing them to be wastefully and indiscriminately destroyed by logging.

We can see the degradation of BC Parks services to the point where they do more harm than good for professionals, and self-guided visitors alike. We can see a Ministry of Tourism and now, Destination BC, that has written our region out of its branding and marketing in favour of the B.C. of whales and vineyards, backed up by the gutting of our Cariboo Chilcotin Coast marketing budget.

Victoria is now spending some resources on what it is their job to do; establish good data to formulate responsible policy that will develop a stable economy in rural BC, with the visitor economy a viable part.

It is laughable that Barnett should point out the advantages of a short-term solution, since short-term economic greed by her previous government is what got us into this mess.

Rita Giesbrecht

108 Mile Ranch