Friday, March 30, 2007

U.K. Contemplating Travel Limits, Tax on Flights

A traveler in the U.K. alerted me to a somewhat disturbing article appearing in the Telegraph a few Sundays ago.
Harsh new taxes on air travel, including a strict personal flight allowance, will be unveiled by the Conservatives tomorrow as part of a plan that would penalise business travellers, holidaymakers and the tourist industry.

No question that airlines need to use cleaner fuel, and better maintained planes.: the clear skies and lack of storms in the days immediately following nine-eleven illustrated the degree of pollution air traffic spawns. But my first impression is that this is a typical 'kill the mosquito with a tank' reaction so common in politics, and I for one, hope they think it through.

The irony -- well, one of them -- is that frequent fliers are to be targetted by the proposed new tax, and I cannot think of any fliers who travel more frequently than politicians.

Hell's Gate Fraser Canyon B.C. Landmark

Those heading to southern British Columbia (Canada) this summer, especially inland from Vancouver, might like take in the Hell's Gate Airtram. It's located in the Fraser Canyon, a 2-3 hour drive east of Vancouver and about the same driving time from west from Kamloops.

A B.C. native myself, I'm old enough to remember when the Fraser Canyon highway (Trans-Canada) past Hell's Gate was the only route between the coast from Hope to home in Kamloops. The Fraser Canyon highway passed through a series of recently built tunnels, a novelty at the time. (And yes, my dad always honked the horn as we passed through. There wasn't much else available to amuse young children on a long car trip),

The twisty mountain-hugging highway unnerved drivers from the flatland Prairie provinces -- Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta -- and held them to a top speed of about 30 mph (even slower if they were driving RVs or hauling travel trailers). Their snail's pace meant they were soon leading a parade of irritated B. C. drivers who were champing at the bit to pass them as soon as possible.

When the Coquihallla highway opened in 1986, it meant drivers had a choice at Hope: North via the slower though more exciting and scenic Fraser Canyon, or east, via the more direct though higher elevation Coquihalla into Merritt and then north to Kamloops or further east to the Okanagan.

And so drivers, especially those heading to Kelowna or fast-tracking it to Kamloops, opted for the faster, shorter Coquihalla, bypassing natural wonders like Hell's Gate. I think this is a shame, since the historical Fraser Canyon is very much worth visiting.

So if you're planning to be in southern B.C., you might want to travel the Fraser Canyon highway, and take in one of Hell's Gate's man-made attractions -- the Hell’s Gate Airtram.

The tram opens for the 2007 season on Thursday, April 5th. And if you're in the vicinity on the weekend of May 5 and 6, it's a free ride.

February 1, 2008 News From Vancouver Coast & Mountains tourism:

Whoever imagined a festival where barrels are thrown off a bridge and into the mighty Fraser River sure knew how to have a good time. The Fraser River Barrel Race is the Fraser Canyon’s not-to-be-missed family-friendly festival.

Festivities begin Sunday, May 4, 2008 with breakfast at Hell’s Gate, where each family member can enter the Barrel Race Draw to try their luck at picking the winning barrel. After breakfast, the barrels are launched into the Fraser River to begin their journey down the wild canyon waters to the finish line at Yale.
The event ends with a festive BBQ, where the winners are announced and prizes are awarded!

See above link for info.