For those not familiar with the Squamish Spit, it is a rock barrier, stretching out from the shore into Howe Sound, at almost 700m in length. Originally built in the 1970s as part of a coal mining project which never came to be, the Spit has since become an iconic landmark in the Sea to Sky corridor and has contributed to the lifestyle found here. In recent years, concerns surrounding the environmental impact of the Spit have come to the forefront.
Chinook salmon once used the passage through Howe Sound to the inland rivers and streams to spawn and grow. This path is currently disrupted by the presence of the Spit and forces the Chinook into danger. Many conservationists, marine biologists, and environmentalists are putting pressure on the Squamish government to aid in the removal of the Spit from Squamish. In a recent article from Pique, it was reported that the dismantling of 300m from the Spit is set to begin as early as October. This effort is being led by the Squamish-River Watershed Society in partnership with the Squamish Nation and Fisheries & Oceans Canada. This is being regarded as a necessary step to preserve the environment, especially as Squamish continues its massive growth and pushes housing further into the wilderness.
However, the Squamish wind sport community is less than enthusiastic about the proposed removal. Kitesurfing, which has become an increasingly popular activity in the Sea to Sky area, is dependent on the survival of the Spit. Currently, 1000 members belong to the Squamish wind sport community, and on average 80 tourists try kiteboarding in Squamish each weekend. The Sea to Sky corridor is continuing to attract Many people specifically to take advantage of the world-class access to wind and water sports. If it is completely removed what will that mean for the community?
Plans for realignment have been organized by local lobby groups and members of the Sea to Sky community. An anonymous private backer has donated to get plans created for a potential move of the Spit, featuring a multipurpose green space at the end. Despite these efforts, it seems that for the time being, the removal is the main focus.
Windsport and tourism groups continue to implore local governments to consider the realignment of the spit in order to keep easy access for those looking to take advantage of the adventure. While they have been promised the naturally formed island at the end of the Spit will remain with access for wind sports, access will be by boat only. Concerns and plans continue to be examined in order to protect the Chinook and all of the wildlife which calls Howe Sound home while satisfying the economic interests of the community. For more information, check out the articles linked on the buttons below: