Peter Bowle-Evans' Memorial

Peter Bowle-Evans contributed to the flying community by his writing as well. Here are samples showing both. First, an article Peter wrote for the HGABC about mount 7. Contains some details of work done and to come. Most of these plans were carried out successfully. Second, an overview of the first years of his involvement with hang gliding and mount 7. One article written 31 Aug 93 was published in the provincial HGABC newsletter, in image format for now sorry. Plus a long article he wrote 23 Oct 1993 that was published in the national newsletter of the HGAC (now HPAC, Peter being one of it's founder.) in two parts the following December and March - Contributed by Fred Wilson

National Newsletter header

Click on the following to bring it, the article is not typed:
 Page 1  Page 2  Page 3  Page 4  Heading


by Peter Bowle-Evans

Would you believe $30,000 has been spent on Mt 7 over the last 3 years?

Here's how it happened.

Over the summer of 1990 I went from wondering what the hell hang gliders were doing flying over the river at Nicholson just before a thunderstorm, to being totally hooked on hang-gliding. At the same time Range Rover North America were about to show off their new $60,000 Range Rovers at, of all places - one guess only - Mt 7, Golden! Not only that, but the business I worked for was acting as their organisers on the spot. I was involved with site development when I had barely even begun to learn to fly!

To cut a long story short, Willi Muller got to provide demonstration hang-gliding, and I got to fly a few times during working hours (Go on, hate me!)

So the big day came up, and here was a full catering team from the Chateau Lake Louise up at launch, complete with tables with white table cloths, waiters and waitresses in full Chateau regalia, smorgasbord and non-alcoholic champagne; and Willi's team with their hang-gliders. Coming up the road to take this all in were some 60 Range Rovers, driven by an assortment of city folk with high heeled shoes and you name it, directed by a Range Rover rep. who about half way up, told them what gear and RPM to use. To be fair to the Range Rovers, when we had a repeat performance about a week later, with a fresh fall of snow, Range Rovers alone made it up the road, and not a wheel spun: and that with drivers some of whom had never been off pavement. Unfortunately, the big event of the day never happened. This was to fly a Range Rover right up to the top of the knoll at launch by helicopter. We had custom designed special brackets and a sling system for this, so that you could readily pick the vehicle up without scratching the chrome or paint, nor without being so ungainly as to put the whole thing in a net. Due to problems with a cracked tail rotor, no helicopter was available at the right time, so the furthest off the ground this part of the project got was about twenty feet when we bounced a Range Rover around with a crane the day before. However, if anyone should ever need to retrieve a Range Rover painlessly from a ridiculous situation one day, we have such a deal for you!

The greatest value of this non-event may yet be to come. There had been some minor, cosmetic improvements to the site for Range Rover's benefit. Willi noticed this immediately, and after talking around a bit he got the idea in his head that it just might be possible to get some real site improvements done. Whether my being around, on both sides of the fence, as it were, had anything to do with it, I don't know, but what he did was to plant the seed in my mind that if the trees in between the ramps were removed then cross-wind launch situations would be eliminated because you could launch on the ground straight down the spine of the ridge. As it happened I had, in fact, already been through the routine of returning my glider to its bag without flying because the wind had been across both ramps, so I believed I understood enough of what Willi was saying to take the bait. This came the next spring in the form of a reversal of the usual monetary exchange with Willi, when he gave ME money and sort of said, "See what you can do," and I, like a fool, instead of taking my family for a holiday in Hawaii (complete with hang-glider) faithfully opened an account with it at the Credit Union in Golden, and added another dimension to my life. The Columbia Valley Credit Union, by the way, operates this account for us, as a non-profit organisation, free of charges. The money had come from donations and so on that Willi had gathered, and here's a big 'Thank you' to him and all those who contributed, including Wills Wing.

The site lies on Crown land, part of the Golden Forest district: in fact it is also a Forest Service Recreational site. So the BCFS is the authority having jurisdiction, and I started campaigning around the community and the Forestry office. Both were supportive, and in fact the Forestry people were very helpful and co-operative. To cut down trees you have to have a 'Licence to Cut'. To hold a Licence to Cut you have to have a 'Special Use Permit' (SUP). To be issued an SUP, to be brief, you have to do certain things. I did these things. You also need an organisation. Together with Martin Henry, we used the Hang Gliding Association of British Columbia.

To cut another long story short, by the end of 1991 we had all the permits in place and got the trees down.

Now it also so happened that in the fall of 1991 the Forest Service re-built and upgraded the lower part of the Mount 7 Main - which means the lower half of the access road to the Lookout (that's the name of the knoll where the launch ramps are located) was turned into an easy grade two wheel drive bush road. This was done as part of ongoing forestry development for access to new timber harvesting areas. There is an extension to this Main on the plans also, which will go further up the mountain in the general direction of the Lookout, and at the time of writing they are starting to grapple with the budget for this. At the same time I am trying to co-ordinate the idea that this extension continue the last 2 kilometres all the way to the Lookout. More of this later.

Now our campaigning during the winter had resulted in some quite favourable support within the community, to the extent that the forest service, through something called 'Community Forestry Program', were about to spend some $8000 on improvements to the Recreational area, which to us means the flying site. Unfortunately, they did not want to spend any of this directly on any part of getting rid of the felled timber and associated debris. What they did was to send a small dozer with a hoe mounted on it up to the site, where it fixed-up the road within the rec area, put in some drainage, installed a new outhouse at the knoll and a wheel chair access outhouse at the cabin site (Yes, that's 'wheel chair access' - & when you think about it, why not?) and built a vastly improved parking area down by the cabin. To us it meant I was able to get use of this machine, at no cost to us, to do some ground work on the new ground launch. So by widening the last part of the road up to launch we generated the fill to place on the running area. When the operator said he had gone as far as he felt was safe in terms of getting to a point where his machine might get stuck due to the increased steepness of the slope (in the construction industry you never want to see a machine roll down a slope because you have persuaded the operator to 'push it' further than he wants to) it looked sort of iffy for a take off. What was there was good, but it was not real far, and the operator did not want to leave until he had seen someone launch with a hangglider, and there was only one of those there just then. Well, what little wind there was coming straight up the ground right beside the North ramp. So I took the bull by the horns, started my run from a point that would previously have been the outer edge of the road, scraped my basetube through the bushes at the end of the dirt, and sailed away to another glorious sled ride. This made it safe for the operator to take his machine what must have been a full twenty feet further without anyone saying a word to him.

To cut out yet more boring details, we eventually got more permits and someone to take the merchantible logs. By this time, of course, the most prolonged spell of good weather of the whole summer was almost over, and after barely getting started our logger had to shut down, and by the time he was able to get back at it again it was on top of competition time, which is why some drivers unfortunately found themselves squirming around on the road in the beginning, since it naturally rained at this time again. Our logger, Jim Gondek, came out quite readily, on a Saturday morning if I remember correctly, to do his best to deal with the road and haul vehicles up the problem pitches: for which he did not make any charges.

At about this time tension was mounting in my office, as on some days I'm spending almost more time on the flying site than on engineering: as you can't do all these things after hours. The first morning of Canadian Nationals week. I attended the first pilots meeting, and after giving my little spiel re-the flying site, one of the fellas butted in at precisely the right moment and made me thankful for wearing a hat, as HE suggested that I pass it around. It was not only the amount which was so pleasing - more than $450 - but the spontaneity of it. Thanks, everyone - those are some of the moments that make it worth it. This is also the place to say a big 'Thank You' to Gregoire Guillemette and the folks from Quebec, who had organised T-shirts for the meet, and who a few days later handed the whole thing to me and said," The shirts are paid for, here's the kitty, just sell the rest of the T-shirts and the money is yours!" This netted us over $200. Another one of those moments. Gregoire and I seemed to end up in the same fields, so we got to know each other a little bit. Whatever it is politically called, I hope you folks do not 'Separate.' People will be happy to see you here again.

And now paragliding competition time is approaching, and all sorts of stories about how terrible the road that leads to the paragliding launch above the Lookout is, are now rampaging around town. Personally, I do not fly a paraglider and had never even been up this piece of road, on foot or by vehicle. I have flown over it, so I know it is there, and that's about it. So what are the proverbial "They" going to do about it? 'There should be this,' 'There should be that,' 'You should do so and so' (I think I shall do 'so and so' in some other place far away one day). Well, we (I say 'we' because a few other people were in on the action around this time, including Stephanie Fairely, Wayne Houlbrook, Eric Oddy and the local newspapers) and our activity with the log removal may have come into it too. I am not sure if anyone REALLY believed we would get the logs to a mill where they would be used, but it was happening.

You see, we had been negotiating for a 'contribution' from the Forest Service in the form of road work. Up to this point this was amounting to one day or less of a machine worth around $60/hr, and only when the logging was completed, and here one of the key forestry officials was about to go on holiday. Eric and I were sort of scrambling around on the telephone with people we knew in the local office, but small town connections were not looking real positive. Bear in mind also that by this time there had been a fire at lower launch a COUPLE of times! The first time ground suppression crews were sent out, but they must not have got it completely, because a few days later up it went again, and it took a helicopter with a waterbucket to put it out. I do not think it had anything to do with hang-gliding activities, at least not directly. But an hour earlier I had spent noon-hour having lunch with the resident Canadian Helicopters pilot, convincing him that the hang-gliding folks were so responsible in their activities as to be allowed to carry out some tow-launching at the airport during competition week. After lunch I went back to my office and did some drafting. He hopped in his helicopter and put out the fire at lower launch. Here and there it was quite a summer. But I digress.

T-shirt ad

About eleven o'clock one evening on the phone a friend Jim (a different Jim) is saying, "Look, I really don't think we can do much for you guys, especially at such short notice, but why don't you come by in the morning - ask for me, don't get sidetracked by everyone else - and we'll have coffee and talk about it. You know, maybe we can try to arrange something for some other time at least."

It is Wednesday night. The paragliding competition starts on Saturday. Flying conditions are tense, at least until you are off the ground.

Thursday morning. For once I get up early, (I am more of a night bird) and go off to find Jim and the coffee. There's a couple other guys with him. Words are floating through the air. 'Needs a cat,' 'next week will be too late,' 'who's not doing anything?' 'Let's give so and so a call', 'Let's go down to our office'.

What's this? We have moved up the ladder, so to speak. All of a sudden we have gone from 'Recreation' to 'Engineering'. Engineering have a budget many times the size of Recreation. These guys are falling over each other trying to help! In no time at all there will be a D-7 dozer going up the mountain TODAY, and 'We want him to do a good job'; "Can you meet him up there and show him what to do?" We have gone from one short day, maybe, of a machine worth about $60/hr, to THREE days with a machine worth about $90/hr. Together with hauling the machine in and out, we are talking about almost as much money as the entire original 'Budget' generated by donations from the flying community. Believe me, the Forest Service people can make or break this flying site overnight.

Did I have time? Leave the office AGAIN during the working day? No, I did not have time. The air was tense in my office too by now. But I went. Was it worth it? I met the dozer operator, and we went through what needed to be done. At least enough to get the job started on the right track. He worked on the paraglider road until he was so surrounded by paragliders and other vehicles that some time on Friday he shut down, least he grade a few of them into the road as fill. But it sure did the trick. After all was quiet on the mountain again after everyone was gone, he and I went over it all again, and by the time he was finished, what had been the roughest section of the entire road system was the best by far.

It was quite some time after the excitement of competition days had dwindled away before the logging finally reached its conclusion. There were trees in places difficult to get at. We had to get a skid trail built across part of the slope. Machines broke down. It was not all easy. But eventually that job did get done. Some time after that one of the Foresters carried out his inspection, and agreed that removal of merchantible timber had been satisfactorily carried out. We were off the hook for the year, but clean-up of the remaining debris still remained. All too often this is the hardest part.

By the end of 1992 the whole image of hanggliding and paragliding had been enhanced within the community of Golden. Towing at the airport, after initial misgivings, went superbly. Golden was on our side.

Peter Bowle-Evans 23 Oct 1993

Continues in the March issue........

by Peter Bowle-Evans

So on to the debris disposal. My first estimate was about $9000. Then I did a really brutal one later on, added in a ramp ex- tension and a new style in the landing field, came up with over $30,000, submitted this in the form of a proposal to something called the Economic Opportunity Fund, and subsquently received $10,000. Now this was a major step. The EOF is a regional, community funding source, based on property taxation with B.C. Hydro. The monies are to assist development of community beneficial projects, particularly those involving non-profit organisations and ones leading to economic growth. Hang-gliding and paragliding fit perfectly - they are definately non-profit (!), and they mean visitors to Golden - tourism and recreation. Among other groups that apply to the EOF are the local Ski area and the Golf Club - both well repected groups. This year, our Flying Site, the Ski area and the Golf Club all received exactly the same proportion of funding - one third of the value of our proposals. Bearing in mind that there were over $200,000 worth of proposals for $100,000 of funds this year, this means that not only did we meet with approval in principal, but received support on an equal standing with these other, well established and respected groups. This in itself is a most rewarding and encouraging vote of confidence from this community.

The execution of the work was, of course, another story. The funds are not available till August, so a series of advances had to be raised in order to get on with it without delay - the Town, HGABC and Golden Truss were the providers. With these and a good name, local people were persuaded to work for 50% of their money now and 50% later. In the beginning the Forest Service told us that burning was out of the question - everything would have to be piled and chipped. The $10,000 looked very small. Then we got two blessings -a totally lousy summer with endless rain, and a para-glider pilot called Steve Levitt. Steve worked for the Forest Service - a summer job while he studies forestry. Not only that, but he was a foreman of something called an 'Initial Attack Crew' - in other words he was a foreman of a forest service fire-fighting crew. He knew what all this was about: and as we were piling pieces from one place to another, and he gathered from the chit-chat about no burning, he couldn't believe it. So he talked casually to his boss - and next thing we know he is summoned to the forester's office, and TOLD that we have a burning permit, and by the way could we please hurry it up and get it over with as quickly as possible! So they had Steve sign the permit - quicker than going over to my office to get me to sign it - he donated another day of his time to run a crew, was free to borrow all sorts of equipment from the forestry (which he did) and we got our first trial day of burning in. It worked. It worked well. This is a big "Thank You!" to Steve - the amount of money being able to burn saved us is enormous. Without it our $10,000 would have vanished into nowhere. As it was, together with volunteer work, of which there was also quite a bit, ('Thanks, everyone') not only did we get rid of all the debris, get the stumps cut almost flush to the ground, with some areas virtually hand raked, but had funds remaining when we got finished with all this clean-up. When the forester came up to make his official inspection, he was impressed. Once again, I don't think they ever really thought we would get it all done. Well, we did, and that brings us to the South side, and the Women's World's.

There's a silver lining in every cloud. The silver lining in this summer's clouds included our being able to burn. Who would ever have thought that anyone would be burning up there in JULY! Perhaps another piece of it was the time spent discussing the World's problems at large on the ramp while trying to ignore the weather, including the bit between myself and Vincene Muller about a Women's World Hang- Gliding Championship. I think I stuck my neck out again, because it semed like a good idea. In fact, it seemed like a REAL good idea, and most everybody else seemed to think so too. Not only that, but it turned out Mark Tulloch, who has flown the competition circiut extensively and makes his living from hang-gliding, had been thinking along the same lines. Now, if you are going to have a world class meet, then you MUST be able to launch to the South: and a World Class Competition is going to bring money into Golden. Olive of GTAC in the Town Hall thought so. The clerk/ adminstrator thought so. The Mayor thought so. The Chamber of Commerce thought so. The Economic Development Commission thuoght so. The local newspapers thought so. Several local businesses thought so. The local MLA, Jim Doyle thought so. Even the Forest Service people thuoght so. So we better get rid of the South side trees, right?

It is now competition time again, and quite a number of the flying association's officers are in town. Next thing, we are having a dinner together, about twenty of us, from the Town and from the flying associations - and hosted by the Town - to talk about this Women's Worlds. The evening went well. The trees are almost a dead issue. We are starting to talk about the road now. You see, there is an extension to the Mount 7 Main already on the plans for timber harvesting. Two representatives from the Forest Service attended the dinner meeting, and they brought maps and plans. The extension will take the road to about the top of the last sustained steep pitches. The time schedule calls for survey and layout next year, 1994, with construction the following year, 1995. This means two-wheel drive access to within about two kilometers of the Lookout. Now it becomes our business. The concept is that the survey, planning and layout work would carry right on from the end of the forestry contract up to the Lookout. The same would apply to construction the following year. We could be talking about $30,000 per kilometer. For two kilometers, this means some $60,000. The forest service people are offering complete access to all their information and data. In a meeting with MLA Jim Doyle later on $60,000 worth of funding for this road through a program called B.C. 21 may not be un-realistic, although this may be on some sort of cost sharing basis. We may have to produce some of our own funds to access B.C. 21 funds.

And speaking of elections, for those of you who wonder just what ever do people do in a place like Golden when you are not flying, this is what I did last Tuesday evening. I went to the federal election "All Candidates Forum" in town here, and at question time got every single one of them to stand up and state in the public meeting that they thought that this sort of initiative of hosting a Women's Worlds Hang-Gliding Championship would most definitely be economically beneficial to the community and that they would support the Organising Committee. Most of them were enthusiastic too. The rest of the evening was boring, especially since I had to wait to the end to get in the personal bit and send them away with one of my cards in their pockets. Mindless rhetoric maybe, but you have to get your foot in the door. What did you do that evening?

So the next move at the site is to clear trees to the South. Launching when the wind is from a Southerly direction is currently somewhere between tricky to forget it. Our performance on the North side put us in a position to apply for the South. A proposal to host a world class event here makes it easier for everyone. Earlier this year I was told that an application on the South side may well not receive a positive response. This has changed. Once again the beaurecratic process has been more involved than I had hoped, including re-hashing plans and documentation in the middle of the night to keep the wheels turning during the day. Darryl Staples, who has replaced Martin Henry as the President of the HGABC, has been doing a good job of regurgitating documentation appropriately as required. Dealing with the Forest service can be a harrowing experience. On the one hand they will be driving you insane with frustration, while at the same time they will be tripping over themselves in their efforts to really help. At the present time this means that while the fact of cutting and burning trees on the South side appears undisputed and accepted, the exact timing of the operations is a matter of intense, detailed, technical and political negotiation. Last Friday I must have spent all of an hour and a half at work in my office - the rest of the day was consumed by phone discussions, arranging meetings, preparing for meetings, having meetings and debriefing from meetings - all for our tiny patch of South side clearing. Since most of these meetings involved Town and Government officials, those of you who haven't figured out how to avoid paying taxes footed the bill for most of this. The current result of it all is that we should be falling the trees early next spring - which means before most of you are likely to be here -albeit from a smaller area than I had originally applied for. Concurrently with all this, they are about to send a machine up the mountain to fix up the road drainage again, at their expense. Listening to the rain pounding on the roof to-night, I think they may have left this a wee bit too late.

In the mean time we have completed enlarging the main launch ramp, including staining. Here's a "Thank You" to Evans Products, who gave us real good deal on the 2000 fbm of lumber, and Lyle Johnson for talking them into it. This company has been good to just about every organisation and group in town at one time or another. The ramp now has another leaf to the North giving the whole ramp almost a 90 degree spread. Here's a "Thank you" to Beret Leftwhich who did the staining for us by way of a donation. Beret is a new local hang-glider pilot and is a welder by trade. He took the service truck from his Dad's business up and used its compressor to run his Dad's favourite spray-gun to do the job. This service truck is large and does not have 4-wheel drive, though it does have posi-track. Mostly, Beret can drive. When I was thanking him for all this his comment was,"I launch off that ramp too." We need more pilots like this. When the South side clearing is done the site will have launching over a 180 degree spread, including ground launching to the North between the ramps (available NOW).

Forming our Organising Committee for the Women's World's is not proving easy. The project is pressing ahead anyway. Mark Tulloch is to be Meet Director. A site in Australia apparently has submitted a provisional bid for 1996. It is too early to say what our game plan will be, except that we intend to do it, possibly with a North American meet on the way. Local experience indicates that the latter half of May might be a good time of year. Snowcats and/or the new road extension come into play here. This event involves sponsors, which is where we may get back to Range Rover, who may still like an excuse to fly one of their vehicles up to the Lookout, with all the accompanying benefits to themselves and us.

We are also considering forming a club in Golden. There is some pressure in the community for us to do so. There is a wish that you, the users of the site and facilities, contribute to the cost of running the site. A club would entail membership fees - yearly, monthly, weekly, etc, according to use, albeit most likely on a voluntary basis. It probably costs about $2000 a year to run the site now: the Nicholson landing field is now $450 a year; the road typically gets about $1000; advertising & 'Thank You' notices $100 to $200, room rental for pilots meetings $100, and garbage disposal, wind socks, ribbon for flagging and streamers easily make up the balance. Now certainly we have not always had to pay for all of these items - the Forestry spent the $1000 on the road this year, the pilots' meeting room was a donation last year, we have not done 'Thank You' notices yet this year, and so on. But we cannot assume that this will always be the case. After helping us to get things going, we could well be expected to carry our own weight. This is RUNNING and MAINTAINING the site, not developing it. Any feedback on this would be most welcome. I am personally somewhat hesitant since it smacks of a whole bunch more work, and I am already overflowing sometimes ( for instance, it is 1.35 a.m. right now as I key in this article). On the other hand there are probably a whole host of good things a club could provide, from retrieval vehicles to lockable storage at launch, organised weather reports, un-organised beer drinking sessions and so on. Another suggestion is that we sell "Site Use Stickers". What does anybody think about this?
So what has all this cost, and where has the money come from? Refer to the list of expenses and income on the right.

INCOME                                                      $$$$
Pilot contributions .......................................2,690
Wills Wing donation .........................................200
      '92 Hang Gliding Nationals ............................250
      '93 Para Gliding Nationals ............................265
      '92 Hang Gliding Nationals T-Shirts ...................250
Alberta Hang Gliding Association ............................615
Hang Gliding Asso of British Columbia .......................600
HPAC/ACVL ...................................................300
East Kootenay Regional District
Economic Opportinity Fund ................................10,000
Mount 7 T-shirt sales .......................................180
Loan from Golden Truss ......................................500
TOTAL ...................................................$15,850

North side - Falling & clearing ...........................2,310
      - Logging............................................1,275
      - B.C. Forest Service .................................600
      - Debris disposal ...................................6,000
Sub-Total ...............................................$10,185
Newspaper 'Thank You' notices ...............................235
Telephone ...................................................100
Meeting roon rentals.........................................135
South side application ......................................115
Mount 7 T-shirts ..........................................2,240
Main ramp extension .......................................2,500
Sub-Total $5,665
TOTAL $15,850

Lumber @ Lookout left over from ramp ........................200
Stain (to re-spray the whole main ramp) ......................75
Mount 7 T-shirts ..........................................3,000
TOTAL ....................................................$3,275

B.C. Forest Service Expenditure
Site groundwork
New outhouses ............................................12,500

TOTAL ...................................................$13,500

Golden Flying Site expenditures ..........................15,850
BCFS expenditures to date ................................13,500
BCFS expenditures imminent ..................................650


Points to Note

  1. The $450 collected at the 1992 Nationals pilots meeting is included in 'Pilot Donations'.
  2. Anyone who concludes that at this point there is no money in the bank is correct! BUT......
  3. The Mount 7 T-shirts just arrived, and are selling well. So the $3000 asset is changing daily to income. By the time you read this we should have either money in the bank or another order of T-shirts in the works, which ultimately means more $.
  4. T-shirt sales are to repay the $500 loan to Golden Truss.
  5. I intend to apply for funds from the EOF again next year. I have reason to believe this will be successful again.
  6. This is a simplification. It also does not include the value of donated time.
  7. Anyone who can do better......


As for other tid-bits - you know the long map that gets put up during competition weeks? - there will be one all the time by next season, most probably in the lounge at Nicki's restaurant. The Nicholson landing field - "Yes" - it does look like it is about to change hands. However, don't worry, I met with the prospective new owners recently, and everything should carry on just as before. As of tonight, 23 October, the deal is not completed. We have awesome T-shirts - see the ad in the Dec '93 newsletter. We need a female hang-glider pilot to fly in May in a bikini with a camera mounted on the wing to generate an irresistable self portrait with the "7" in the background to promote our Women's World's (presumably flying a glider with something like "Desire!" written all over it.)

Peter Bowle-Evans
23 Oct 1993

Texts © belong to each respective author. Quotation of text is conditional to showing appropriate credit accompanied by link back to the source page. Codes © Serge Web Service