The Malamute


April 2007: Malamute Logged

    SAS Statement | DoS Press Release | What You Can Do

    June 25, 2007 - Update

    Negotiations continue about the future of the upper Malamute, albeit at a somewhat more drawn-out pace than anyone has expected. We've been encouraged by what we have heard that a solution in the best interests to recreationalists is potentially achievable. The fact remains that the land is still privately held, in which case the long term outlook for access is not ensured, let alone the integrity of the land. The issue of fines concerning the illegal cutting of trees hovers around the periphery of what the larger picture may hold.

    Notwithstanding the situation on the ground, the pressures of other closures and the weather (unseasonably wet weather makes this faster drying crag appealing) has not surprisingly seen climbers continue to access the upper Malamute. An approach trail has apparently been cleared. If you can climb elsewhere, we encourage it, however there has been no indication of any official closure or denial of access to climbers.

    On a related note, there have been some reports of further incidents at the lower Malamute, involving rail traffic and climbers near the tracks. Climbers should respect that their actions on the BC Rail right of way may negatively impact the delicate balance of the situation that exists there.

    April 27, 2007 - Update

    As mentioned in our previous update below, the District of Squamish enlisted a consultancy firm to assess the actual number of trees that had been felled on the Malamute in contravention to a site alteration bylaw. This would lay down part of the factual groundwork to move forward on when fines were considered. That report was completed and the official document is dated April 16th 2007, and was prepared by N&R Forest Management Ltd. In contrast to earlier estimations of 500 trees, the on-the-ground assessment counted 1,413 trees as having been felled. An area of 2.7 hectares was affected.

    As the bylaw states the potential fines as varying between $1,000 and $10,000 per tree, the theoretical fine range is $1,413,000 to $14,130,000.

    The ball is now in the District's court vis-à-vis next steps. There is a council meeting on May 1st, which may deal with the matter. It is the position of the SAS that the long term issue around the Malamute and its preservation for recreation is a parallel issue of provincial concern and importance (and climbers' concern internationally) and we have hope that irrespective of the fines issue, a solution can be reached which reflects this. We are meeting and communicating with all levels of government and other stakeholders toward this end.

    April 15, 2007 - Update

    Many of you have been following developments on our website regarding the Malamute. Since the clear cutting occurred during the last week of March, the SAS has been busy working on this issue, meeting with the Ministry of Transportation, the District, and several other stakeholders as well as engaging with the media.

    The most recent development was a special meeting of Council on April 10th to approve the hiring by the District of a third party to assess the logging on the property. The assessment should be completed by the end of April, in time for Council to consider its next moves on May 1st. Read more on this from the April 13th edition of The Chief.

    Due to the assessment work in progress, and because of the unstable nature of the terrain, covered with recently felled trees as it is, we encourage climbers to avoid the Malamute for the time being.

    There has been extensive media coverage surrounding the Malamute, and while the illegal logging and the potential fines that could be levied have grabbed the headlines, the need for the preservation of the Malamute and a permanent access solution has never been more pressing and it is on this that the SAS has been focusing its efforts. We hold high hopes that a long term solution in the public's best interest can be achieved.

    For more media coverage, see the Vancouver Sun article, April 4th, 2007.

    April 3, 2007 - Squamish Access Society Statement

    The Squamish Access Society, representing the climbing community, unequivocally condemns the recent illegal logging on the Malamute. Although the land is privately owned, it is well known to hold values of immense public interest to climbers internationally, and to the greater Squamish public. The clearcutting of this particular forest is a disgrace.

    The District of Squamish press release of April 2, 2007 states that regulatory offences have been committed under Site Alteration Bylaw No. 1886. The Squamish Access Society expects the District to take the appropriate measures.

    April 2, 2007 - DoS Press Release re. the Malamute

    "Squamish, BC - On Friday, March 30, 2007, District staff were made aware of logging/clear cutting activity on the section of property along Highway 99 across from the Stawamus Chief called 'the Malamute'. The District of Squamish has determined that the activity is an offence under the District's Site Alteration Bylaw 1886 and are in the process of determining the severity of the offence and the appropriate action to be taken.

    For further information, please contact Mayor Ian Sutherland at 604-815-5030."

    March 30, 2007 - SAS Email to Members

    The following information was emailed to SAS members on March 30, 2007.

    "During this past week, in the matter of only a day or two, the private land comprising the majority of the top of the malamute was clear-cut.

    The SAS is collecting as much information as possible and will provide an update once the facts are reasonably known. We intend to combine forces with fellow access groups and are in communication with the municipality and interested private and corporate parties. Many of you will want to know how you can help - stay tuned for details on where to direct your efforts. In the meantime, please send us your opinions, comments, and photos by email (info AT squamishaccess DOT ca)

    We are able to provide the following preliminary information:

    • the large scale clearing does not comprise part of the Sea to Sky Highway Improvement Project;

    • notice was not given to all groups and organizations who historically and up to the immediate past have expressed a public interest in the land;

    • the actions do not, upon initial investigation, carry the endorsement of the Municipality of Squamish."

    What You Can Do

    Please contact the following individuals with your concerns.

    District of Squamish
    Mailing Address: PO Box 310, Squamish, BC V8B 0A3

      Mayor Ian Sutherland,
      Councillor Patricia Heintzman,
      Councillor Mike Jensen,
      Councillor Raj Kahlon,
      Councillor Jeff McKenzie,
      Councillor Greg Gardner,

    Joan McIntyre, MLA West Vancouver - Garibaldi
    Room 201, Parliament Buildings, Victoria, BC V8V 1X4
    Phone: (250) 387-2283 Fax: (250) 356-7156


Click below to view larger images:

Malamute View from Top of the Dyke

Northern End of the Malamute

Upper Malamute to Chief View

Upper Malamute to Downtown View

View of Malamute from the North

View of Malamute from the South

September 2006

    Although climbers have been active on the Malamute for over 40 years, it presents climbers today with the most high profile and complex access situation in the entire region. The Malamute can be considered as two separate areas; upper and lower, each with a different set of ownership and access issues.

    The situation at the lower Malamute, where the CN Rail tracks skirt along the base of the cliffs, is that the rail right-of-way, some 18 metres each side of the tracks, has been aggressively declared by the rail company as a “we may prosecute” zone if they find climbers there.

    All the Malamute crags and climbs beyond and above the rail right-of-way are on undeveloped private land and the owners, two Squamish businessmen, have offered no formal objection to the presence of climbers. However, this situation cannot be taken for granted, and it could change at any time. If you visit or climb at the upper Malamute, the SAS asks that you be fully aware it is private property and be respectful, both of the place itself, and anyone you may encounter there.