In this week's cover story, a young rock climber suggests Powell River needs to be more open about what types of recreational opportunities we can provide to the rest of the world, and not keep them a secret.
The Eldred and Daniels valleys are quickly becoming known as premier international rock-climbing destinations. Along with notoriety for our climbing, hiking, biking, camping and other recreational activities comes increased tourism.
As local businesses are experiencing this summer, many new faces are passing through Powell River and the more we expose people to our natural beauties, such as rock-climbing destinations, the more new faces we will see.
As the publisher/editor of the local newspaper I am often asked by those passing through or new to the area if locals are welcoming to newcomers. I always say it depends on the local. Most of us, by now, understand how tourism drives the economy and enhances our cultural experience.
Meeting new people from different parts of the world can be an enriching experience, and was something that often felt lacking in the past. Sure, travellers have always frequented Powell River area, but not to the level they have the past two or three years.
With this increased tourism comes many challenges and an element of trust is needed for those who come here to respect the area as they would their own.
It is easy to grumble about how "outsiders" come in and harm our natural surroundings, but just as it is up to each local resident how they treat tourists, it is up to each tourist how they treat the area.
The vast majority of tourists understand the importance of respecting the land, packing out what they pack in and ensuring the actions they take do not have negative repercussions.
The young rock climber is correct. We do need to shift the culture and let people know what we have here.
Being open and welcoming to tourists is paramount to our future viability. If we truly want to be known as a destination that people choose to vacation to, then all residents of Powell River have to buy in to the program.
We already have glaring obstacles such as BC Ferries to overcome. There is no room for negative attitudes toward tourists, especially when an impressive number of them end up moving here and becoming our neighbours.
-Jason Schreurs, publisher/editor