Outfitters in Golden, British Columbia, need our help to ensure access to the lower Kicking Horse River – a stretch of water that has been rafted for almost 40 years.

In a decision this past March, CP Rail barred access to rafting companies that approach the lower river by crossing the railroad tracks – something they’ve done for almost four decades. Ryan Johannesen of the Kicking Horse Outfitters Association said in a recent interview that decision is going to have a large economic impact on the town because the lower canyon represents one-third of the rafting business for local operators, which is about 15,000 people per year.

Ron Oszust, the mayor of Golden, also spoke to the issue recently and he pointed out that although CP Rail says the rafting companies are trespassing, there are written agreements that date back to 2003.

The Kicking Horse River RapidsWe here at the Mountain Culture Group get it. Many of the towns we call home in BC exist in a balance between heavy industry and the increased input of adventure-tourism (from which a lot of people are now making sustainable and significant livings). And sometimes the two are going to be at odds. But in this case CP Rail didn’t even try to work towards a solution, such as install a signal where the outfitters cross. Instead, the company just barred access outright 60 days before the whitewater season starts. That’s not right.

We’ve signed the petition by the Kicking Horse River Outfitters Association and we ask that you do the same. At the very least we’d like to see the association and CP Rail sit down to discuss possibilities other than an outright blockade. Please help the cause by clicking on the link below and signing the petition.

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