In Squamish Nation’s bid to regain ownership of their traditional territory, some of that land has been slowly returned through land transfers. These transfers have widespread impact on various stakeholders.
The provincial government has recently promised to return parcels of land around the Murrin Park area to Squamish Nation. These parcels of land are a part of the traditional territory. Today, Murrin Park is home to a community of rock climbers and adventure seekers. Guillaume Otis, owner and founder of the Squamish-based guiding business, Coast Mountain Guides, has led tours in the Murrin Park Area for 25 years. Today, he’s exploring Squamish’s many other mountain ranges and parks as he awaits the Nation’s decision on what to do with the land. He’s hopeful the area will still be open to recreational climbers, but respects the land’s rightful owners.
“It is their land, we will do whatever they say and they want us to do. At this point we’re okay with the decision, we’re just waiting to see or hear from the local native communities to see what their plan is.” – Guillaume Otis, Founder of Coast Mountain Guides
Otis notes that locals were surprised by the decision, as there’s been no prior consultation with community members. He says that some groups are worried about their ability to use Murrin Park.
“There’s definitely lots of concern. People that put a lot of time and hours and the trails and creating these climbing areas… there’s just a lot of infrastructure in terms of climbing it’s structure that is there. I mean, there’s lots invested, lots of, lots of hours and time invested.” – Guillaume Otis, Founder of Coast Mountain Guides
Otis believes the land transfer will foster an opportunity to improve the area in ways that align with Indigenous values.
“Maybe there will be programs to educate people on how to play and utilize the wilderness in a clean fashion… protecting the environment is what I hope will happen, so maybe it’s a good thing.” – Guillaume Otis, Founder of Coast Mountain Guides