F**K IT, I'LL TAKE THE BUS
Think about your favourite outdoor recreation spot. Maybe it’s your local ski hill, a secret campsite on Crown land, or a trail with unforgettable views. Now, think about how you get there… because we’re pretty sure you take your car, right?
Don’t worry, this isn’t about shaming you for driving. We ALL drive - and that’s the point. For a country that’s massively over-indexed when it comes to mind-blowing outdoor recreation opportunities, Canada is far, far behind when it comes to ways to reach those places. Whether you’re a local or one of the 22 million tourists that come here each year, you’re unlikely to get to our most iconic destinations without a car.
And of course, those cars add up to a pretty big impact.
Here are a few examples:
Whistler has 24,000 visitors a day. With an average group size of 1.9, that amounts to about 12,500 cars on the Sea to Sky each day, requiring over 100 acres of parking (that’s 54 football fields). These cars are pumping a minimum of 700 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each day - enough to power 88 homes for a whole year.
- We see you too, Ontarians. Each year, Collingwood and Blue Mountain see 2.5 million visitors who battle their way north up the 400 from Toronto. That amounts to 300,000,000 total kilometres driven - just from visitors, not counting those who commute or travel on these routes for other reasons. That’s 1000 tanker trucks of gas, the equivalent of 436 rail cars worth of coal being burned.
- Qu'en est-il des Québécois ? Les 20 000 personnes qui se rendent chaque jour à Tremblant en voiture pourraient à elles seules alimenter 50 maisons pendant un an.
For most of us, we drive because we have no other choice. Our public transport systems suck, and there’s simply no convenient way to get out into nature without contributing to its loss.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Take Europe as an example, where iconic destinations like Chamonix and the Stubai Valley are serviced by frequent, efficient and affordable transport options. From Innsbruck you can reach the Tirol and be skiing in under an hour, for the cost of a local bus fare. Zermatt is only accessible via train and the village is centred around active transport.
Don’t come to me with your problems
We’re not here to complain, we’re here to do something.
If you’re up to date with POW news (of course you are) you’ll know that we’ve partnered with 25 other environmental organisations to ask that 2% of GDP be redirected to meeting Canada’s climate commitments. As part of that, a group of POW athletes, scientists and outdoor industry representatives will be heading to Ottawa next month to ask the government to start funding sustainable regional transport to outdoor recreation destinations.
We have a strong proposal that we believe supports not only our planet, but will increase equitable access to nature, create sustainable regional jobs and boost local economies. Win, win win, right?
What you can do
Governments love data. Love it. To make sure our proposal is too credible to be ignored, we’re running a survey about outdoor recreation transport options, and we need your input. Please take 10 minutes to answer a few questions about how you recreate. Not only will you be helping out POW and the planet, but you’ll go into the draw to win a really good prize, which is still a secret right now, but trust us, it’s GOOD.
We’ll be sharing plenty more opportunities to get involved, but as always, being an active citizen is the absolute best thing you can do. Calling or writing to MPs, raising awareness locally and activating with your closest POW chapter are all ways to make a genuine impact. As we always say, if not us, who? If not now, when?