And just like that, another year draws to a close. This is our final newsletter for 2015 and it's a good one. We're welcoming a new club, celebrating the rehabilitation of a trail network, and updating you on some interesting ideas that came out of the the latest PTAB meeting. We've also got a member club grant report, a call-to-action for preserving old-growth, and a report from a trip that took place more than a century ago. We hope you enjoy it, and that your holidays are filled with good friends, family, food, and an outdoor adventure or two. Happy holidays from the FMCBC and see you in 2016!
The Federation of Mountain Clubs of British Columbia
DECEMBER 2015 NEWSLETTER
Introducing our newest member club: The Chilliwack Parks Society
Our ranks are growing and we couldn’t be more pleased to welcome the Chilliwack Park Society (CPS) to the FMCBC. Earlier this month, they became our 35th member club, adding to our membership of more than 5,000 hikers, climbers, trail runners, snowshoers and skiers from across British Columbia. By way of introduction, we thought’d we’d share with you a bit more about their organization and they great work they’re doing in the Fraser Valley.
Established in 2014 to advocate for green space and outdoor activity in and around Chilliwack, the CPS has been incredibly active since inception both lobbying for parks and building trails. This year, their main project has been the Chilliwack Community Forest, a 130-acre parcel of mature forest in Chilliwack’s Eastern Hillsides. Volunteer crews have already made a great deal of progress building trails in the park — as the photos on their Facebook page attest. A two-kilometre beginner loop was finished in the summer, and crews are continuing to work through the fall and winter on several other moderate trail loops.
Additionally this year, CPS volunteers worked alongside a professional trail building crew to restore 13 of the most used trails in the Chilliwack River Valley. More than 70 kilometres of trails were revitalized during that project, with volunteers clearing overgrown sections, replacing worn-out foot bridges, and building stone stairs to prevent erosion. There's more about this project in the article below.
With the help of the CPS, it seems that Chilliwack is becoming the outdoor destination it's always had the potential to be. We're so happy to have this active and passionate group on board. Welcome to the FMCBC, Chilliwack Parks Society!
Chilliwack River Valley Trails Rehabilitation Project complete
The trails in the Chilliwack River Valley are open and looking better than ever. Volunteer and professional trail builders spent more than 540 hours this year getting 70+ kilometres of neglected trails back into shape, clearing brush and deadfall, building new footbridges, addressing erosion, and installing reflective markers and information kiosks.
Their hard work has certainly paid off. Since late October, 13 trails — most of which were built in the 1960s and maintained by the Ministry of Forests until they were abandoned in 2002 when a “Request for Proposals to Manage and Maintain” was unsuccessful — have once again been opened for the enjoyment of hikers, cyclists, and equestrians alike. The Elk, Cheam, Pierce Lake, Slesse Memorial, Williamson Lake, Mt. Mcguire, Williams Ridge, Ford Mountain, Baby Munday, Ling Lake, Slesse Mountain, Mount Rexford and Vedder Mountain Trails have all been rehabilitated.
- Under Action 10 — Enhance recreation opportunities by reducing liability risk to landowners and groups responsible for managing trails — Tennessee Trent gave an overview of the Occupiers Liability Act. He explained that the Act now stipulates that landowners are not liable for injury or damage to persons who willingly assume the risk of entering their lands for a recreational activity, provided they do not accept payment and subject to certain obvious exceptions. While the OLA requires that an occupier exercise a certain duty of care for persons on the property, there is a lower standard of care in the case of the recreational user.
- Under Action 13 — Consolidate trail standards, guidelines and best practices, and ensure they are widely communicated and accessible for agency staff and user groups — Jeremy McCall recommended that a descriptive type of classification system, similar to that adopted in Alberta, be used for trails in BC instead of the numbering system currently used by the BC Government agencies and Parks Canada.
Member Club Grant Report: New section Sigurd Creek Trail complete
Crews were blessed with sunny, warm days, and a cool wind off the glacier while they worked. They spent the majority of their time clearing the new route to Ossa Camp — which is much more level and covers less sensitive ground than the previous trail —and marking it with FMCBC-purchased reflective trail markers. They also scouted a route west to Sigurd Lake, and may return to clear that trail next year. Thanks to the BCMC, and particularly Paul Kubik, for sharing their photos and words with us.
Ever wonder what it was like to go mountain climbing around Vancouver in 1903? William Latta’s labour day holiday that year took him and his two younger brothers from their home on Homer Street (at that time “a respectable residential neighbourhood” with vacant CPR property across the street) up and down the Lions paints a pretty compelling picture.
“It occurred to me that we might have some real climbing to do and it was in order to use the rope. So we got hitched up in approved alpine style, one on each end of the rope and the other halfway between. We struggled upward for a short distance, fumbling with the rope which would get caught on every sharp corner and root on the mountain. Once Bert got his leg in a bight ad was in danger of being pulled up feet first. Finally, after having the rope whip smartly past my head, nearly severing one of my ears, we concluded that ropes were meant for professional mountaineers… we got unhitched, coiled the rope and dropped it where it could be recovered on the way back.”
It’s a nail biter at times but a great read for anyone with an interest in mountain climbing or Vancouver history.
Protecting old-growth forests in the Walbran Valley
More than 25 years ago, conservationists, aboriginal groups and concerned community members put up blockades around Clayoquot Sound and the Walbran River to protest the logging of the ancient forests that line the coast of Vancouver Island. Out of those protests came the establishment of Carmanah-Walbran Provincial Park.
But Carmanah-Walbran’s boundaries do not extend as far as the Walbran Valley - an area that has become key to conservationists as 90 percent of the low-elevation growth on Vancouver Island has been logged. And since the provincial government granted a controversial permit to logging company Teal Jones in September, efforts to preserve the old-growth forests in the area have once again been ramping up. You can view a map of the area Teal Jones has secured rights to log here (scroll down to view the map).
FMCBC Secretary Mack Skinner was one of 3,000 concerned British Columbians who reached out to Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver to express his concerns about the Teal Groups’s intentions to log in the Walbran Valley. Mr. Weaver’s response can be read here. If you’d like to submit your thoughts, the Wilderness Committee has an online form that will be received by Premier Christy Clark and a host of ministers and MLAs. We encourage you to get involved on this important conservation issue.
Last month, a group of 28 people representing nearly as many recreation and tourism organizations met in West Kelowna to discuss the impact that current forestry practices are having on various recreational users. FMCBC President Bob St. John, PTAB Representative Andrew Drouin, and BCMC Director Ben Singleton-Polster were in attendance and passed along these draft minutes from the conference.
CPAWS-BC is currently seeking Wild Ambassadors from across the province to encourage and facilitate BC residents to spend more time in BC parks. Wild Ambassadors are responsible for planning and leading outdoor activities in provincial parks that appeal to a wide audience and demonstrate the multitude of recreation opportunities our parks afford. Applications for 2016 are now being accepted. Click here for more information and here to download the application form.
Ridge Wilderness is offering a special discount to FMCBC members for wilderness first aid courses in January and February 2016. The basic two-day course teaches how to care for an ill or injured person for up to 24 hours, with an additional component on outdoor structure building. The advanced course covers care beyond 24 hours. Both courses include Standard First Aid and CPR-C with AED, so upon successful completion you'll have these certificates built into your Wilderness First Aid Certificate. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
The Banff Mountain Film Festival continues its BC tour this winter with stops in Kelowna (Dec. 28), Vernon (Dec. 29 and 30), Cranbrook (Jan. 2), Invermere (Jan. 3), Fernie (Jan. 4), and Powell River (Jan. 8 and 9). Click here for more details.
After a series of packed screenings across B.C. and with tour dates around the world continuing well into the new year, Jumbo Wild, the documentary film about the 24-year struggle to keep commercial development from the Jumbo Valley, is now available for digital download on Vimeo and iTunes. Host a screening party, share the link with friends, and take action to #KeepJumboWild.
As always, the FMCBC would like to thank Mountain Equipment Co-opfor supporting the FMCBC through their generous contribution of office space from which to base our administration.
The mission of the FMCBC is to advocate for safe self-propelled activities (such as hiking, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, trail running and other backcountry activities) and the protection of BC's backcountry for current and future generations to experience.