Thursday, 10 December 2009

Logging near Mile 4 Goat Main: Upper Eagle River and Smokey's Blue Ridge Trails

Stuart Glen of Western Forest Products writes to advise us of the following:

"We are commencing pre-poling activities in ST-245 tomorrow and therefore will need to close the SCT when we are falling adjacent. I will have the contractor post signage for the periods when they will be within reach of the trail. The Goat Main Loop is also closed as the poles are being yarded to this road."

Avoid this area for the time being and choose another section to hike. It may be a month or more, as it is weather dependent.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Fairview Bay Shelter

During the summer and early fall we cleared the site at Fairview Bay, carving a clearing out of the forest at the edge of the bay, tossing logs into the firewood pile, levelling the building site by hand.

In October we were given the go ahead to start the building.

Foundations first of course.

Then the posts and beams...

and trusses



slogging in the eye of the hurricane

putting the finishing touches to pony walls

Another picnic table for inside, a bench, and we'll be good for a few good laughs. Watch out for the trolls under the bridge.

Many thanks to the volunteers. And thanks to the businesses and organizations who are giving us a break, in particular , Island Coastal Economic Trust, PR Regional District, City of Powell River, and UBCM, plus the former artificial reef society and Island Girl water taxi.

Enjoy this first of a handful of shelters on the Sunshine Coast Trail in good spirits and good health.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Freda and Knuckleheads Winterwonderland

Winter is arriving in the high country. Snow was on the trail about 2 km from the start of the trail. It was 1 1/2 feet deep in the higher open country. We used snow shoes as snow was soft. On top there was blizzard conditions today. Crampons not useful.

It took us 5 1/2 hrs up and 4 hrs down as it was slippery and slow in the deep snow. We took the direct route that goes from the creek north east.

Anyone know conditions at Triple Peaks for next weekend?

Peter Behr


We drove up Stillwater Main and then up A-Branch to the KM 6 marker where the side spur heads up to the Knuckleheads Cabin. The snow was still navigable by 4X4, but another fresh dump and vehicles without chains won't be able to drive that high.

Over 90 people signed into the Knuckleheads Cabin log book during October. That's excellent useage, and of course this count does not include the people who didn't sign in. Eagle

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Tees Kwat-

Today a friend and I hiked the Tees Kwat Trail to Gibson Beach. There were some spectactular views and quite a few trees blown down across the trail. This is a picture of one of them.

It was a wonderful sunny and warm day. When we got to Gibson's Beach, the ocean was very busy. We saw sea lions, seals, cormorants, ducks and lots of birds. I believe they were feeding at the tide line. We also saw the Sliammon Long Boat with a few people paddling it.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

ALERT: Smokey's Blue Ridge Trail Closure

Western Forest Products is going to be commencing road construction in ST-245 on Tuesday October 12. It looks like the only portion of the SCT that will be affected is the portion above Goat Main at Mile 4 and this will be for tree falling. For safety, the SCT will need to be closed for some time next week in order to fall the trees along the exisiting road.

A 500 m reroute will have to be built. If you are interested in participating for a few hours contact Eagle at or call 604-483-9565. Thanks!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

ALERT: Blue Ridge Trail section closure

This Friday, September 18, Western Forest Products is hand-falling a few trees in the management zone of the Blue Ridge Trail section (SCT) in the vicinity of Mile 4 on Goat Main. For safety reasons they have to close the trail for a few hours. Signage will be put in place for the duration of the falling.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

August Update

The weather has been fabulous this summer for hiking, swimming, boating - and in general, being active outside.

Up Bute Inlet: Homathco River and Mount Waddington

We are seeing people from all around the province and the globe with many locals of course, out on the Sunshine Coast Trail, section-hiking and through-hiking. The length of the 180 km long trail is in good shape as per the latest reports.

We still have an issue with an unknown individual going back from time to time and covering up the entrance to Tony's Trail (SCT) with woody debris. This access trail lies west just off the Telus Road on Gallagher Hill. (See detailed description on how to access it from Mowat Bay in the June 21 post.) The individual has taken to covering up our orange spaypainted markings with black paint. So if you can't see the orange markings, look for black paint on trees opposite the pull out. That's where the trail begins. Step over the debris, or better still help us out and move it off the trail, and carry on in a westerly direction. Thank you.

Ron and Bruce ready for a swim at Tony Point after clearing the trail down from the Gallagher Hill Telus road.

There is one upcoming blockage of the trail with Western Forest Products planning to harvest "Cutblock ST-324". Its boundary lies adjacent to about a 100m stretch of the Blue Ridge Trail section of the SCT, just about a km north of the Goat Main crossing at Mile 4, right where the trail crosses the new Deer Main logging road. Last week we were told by Western that it would only be closed one or two days. We have requested that they log after tourism and mushrooming seasons are over so wildcrafters may get one more harvest out of that area. Here is the link to the map:
You can copy and paste it into the top of Google and then click on to it. Red-lined ST-324 is in quadrant C-7 just west of Lois Lake (near centre bottom of the map). Stay tuned as to when exactly the closure will occur.

The beginning of March Lake Trail is still impacted by logging but can be passed by using the posted Alaska Pine reroute.

We did have a report that the Spires access trail below Manzanita Bluffs needed some brushing. The salmonberry and salal came back strongly there. This secondary trail is accessed by people coming off the old forest service road just 500 m beyond the "Dome" at about the 2.2 km mark on Sarah Point Road from the Lund gas station. Going in there avoids going up and down 3 K hill. It's all brushed out now all the way up to the SCT junction as of today, but could use some fancy stick work flicking the wee branches off the trail. Enjoy.

Happy trails.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Penticton Street Trails

The trails out in the logged area have been re-established by the loggers, thanks to BCTS and Southview Forest Products!!! Rob Stewart has ground up all the large slash piles out there and he cleared a path over to the timber edge which I will turn into a connector which will lead to #19 "Longshot Trail". A big thanks to Rob!!

Louie Perrault has build a couple of new trails near the Toba Pit, which we will sign soon along with all the other main trails. Also one of my newer trails out near upper Nootka Street has been logged and we will have to reconnect the trail back up, it was just on private land for @ 50 metres.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Fiddlehead to Eagle River

Sunshine Coast Trail - Section 4 (Fiddlehead to Eagle River)

Yesterday John and I drove to Fiddlehead Farm to make sure hikers would not have any difficulties making it through that area which was impacted by logging and extensive road building a handful of years ago now. We found that about a dozen of our carved wooden directional signs have been vandalized, either ripped off the trees and taken away altogether, or demolished and tossed into the bushes.

Anticipating some loss of signage we had brought 8 new carved signs and installed them, and more metal markers, as well as additional flagging through the slash. Though still more signs are required yet, this interim measure should ensure that hikers will be able to make their way through the warren of roads when they come into the valley, accessing either the West Tin Hat trail section, or the Fiddlehead Trail section to Confederation Lake.

We met a couple who bicycled to Fiddlehead and set up camp in the valley. They've been holidaying in the area, exploring the trails. They've talked to trekkers coming down from Confederation Lake, and from Tin Hat, and so we know that these SCT sections are traversable. Someone is reportedly doing the whole Sunshine Coast Trail from bottom to top. And the student crew encountered a couple trekking in the opposite direction.

The Gallagher Hill to Tony's Trail black hole of disappearing trailhead fiasco is good this week. The sign is still there and the red spray paint marking applied artistically by Bruce is as attractive as ever. The trail is not covered up and disguised by woody debris and branches. So this week you could find your way through without your GPS. That's a good thing for most of us.

We also noted that signs along Goat Lake Main Mile 4 and the Spring Lake Main have been vandalized and are missing. This makes it difficult for people to access even some popular destination such as Tin Hat Mountain.

We now have to ask Jim to make dozens more signs and then go out to put them on the many intersections of the trail with the roads. Yesterday we had to show some tourists to find the trail/road going up to Tin Hat who had driven past the turn-off as a result of the missing signage.

Alaska Pine road has been used as an alternate trail route while Western FP is completing the logging on and around the March Lake Trail (SCT) west and south of Spring Lake (ST-822). Pre-poling near Alaska Pine is completed and cleaned up.
Hauling will be completed soon as well. We'll keep you posted.

While there are a few trees down between Alaska Pine road and Elk Lake, the weekend hikers reported after their hike of a couple of weeks ago that they had no problems stepping over the deadfall and getting up to Elk Lake. From there the inside route is open, and you can stroll to Granite Lake, and make your way up from there to Coyote Lake, and up onto Walt Hill. As you head south off the summit down along the old growth ridge, and onto the end of the old logging spur you will have to navigate around, or over a few trees on this short section, but as Bill Price and Val Smith reported, they had no problems getting through. We will get in there in the next couple of days and clean this out as well to make hiking more pleasurable.

So, to conclude, Fiddlehead to Eagle River, the mid-section of the SCT can be used by the experienced hikers, but there are areas that can be a challenge. We know that the northern section of the 180 km long Sunshine Coast Trail from Sarah Point to Fiddlehead, and the southern section from Lois Lake to Saltery Bay, are good to excellent.

Please let us know if there are areas where the signage has gone missing, or trees are down. It will help us pinpoint the problem and address it more quickly, and take the guesswork and anxiety out of hiking for the visitors to this area and many local people who are just beginning to become familiar with it.

Enjoy the trail in good health and good spirits.

Val Smith, and the Marathon Shuffle trophy

At long last we have captured the fleetfooted Val on camera, holding the women's Marathon Shuffle trophy. Val won the trophy at the end of April, setting a new record of 4 hours, 10 minutes, and repeating her win from last year. Only a couple of years earlier this time would have bested the men.

Mile 4 of Goat Main trail adjustment

After a number of visits to the section of the Sunshine Coast Trail that crosses Goat Main at Mile 4 where a new logging cutblock is being planned by Western Forest Products, five members of the PRPAWS board of directors met last week with Stuart Glen of WFP and finalized an agreement. We agreed to buffers, and to relocate the upper section of the trail out onto the adjacent bluffs from which you can see lower Lois Lake and the bottom end of Texada. These accommodations allow WFP good access to timber, while at the same time taking into consideration tourism values. The adjacent area will not be logged until sometime next year.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Gwendoline Hills and the Student Crew

This week, after the inundation from Rainy Day Lake to Fairview Bay, the summer student crew spent three hot days cutting back salal and other manner of brush on the SCT Access from Gilpin Hairpin Curve to Wednesday Lake. In the process they also cleared the Ann Gustavson Way around the west side of the warm little lake in Malaspina Park.

Snack time at Wednesday Lake: Beth, Chad, Dylan and Mitch.

Next they turned south from there and battled encroaching salal on the Sunshine Coast Trail across the spine of the Gwendoline Hills to within spitting distance of Manzanita Bluffs. They say they've been enjoying themselves and we certainly appreciate being able to hike along unencumbered by often wet shrubbery brushing against our legs. Thanks guys!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Rainy Day Lake area

This week's trail day found Alex, Bruce, Joe and Ron volunteering at Rainy Day Lake not too far out of Saltery Bay. Their numbers where increased by a crew of three high school students and their supervisor collegian Mitch Green. They cut back the brushed in parts of the trail going down to Fairview Bay - and it is now good hiking through there. The BOMB Squad crew meanwhile bucked the deadfalls on the upper reaches of this trail and also cleaned out the area around the RDL campsite and up to Jackie's Lookout. Many thanks to all.

PRPAWS entered into a partnership with the BC Forest and Range Service and we were offered the services of a crew of youngsters to work on various parts of the Sunshine Coast Trail for one week. Mitch Green, Dylan Adams, Beth May, and Chad Head are also going to be doing different stints working with various organizations and businesses like the Community Forest, Kiewitt, fisheries, alder brushing with BCFRS, fire suppression, doing engineering, controlling invasive plants, and many other activities. What a great way to become familiar with the woods and get glimpses of jobs they might like to do in the future. We very much appreciate the extra help at this busy time of the year and wish them an awesome summer. Yesterday they certainly got their baptism of soakology at the aptly named Rainy Day Lake.

Have a chat with them if you encounter them along the way. Today and possibly tomorrow they are going to be brushing the Wednesday Lake to Hummingbird Bluff section of the Gwendoline Hills Trail (SCT).

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Elephant/Troubridge Update

We have been clearing, signing and reflagging the various sections of Troubridge Massif, both East and West side, up to the summit, some 40 kilometres in all - nearly all done now.

This is Lois Lake with the Smith Range in the distance as seen from a viewpoint on the way up to Elephant Lake.

Many thanks to Bruce, Ron, Alex, Joe, Jim, John, and Scott who have joined in on Tuesdays or weekends whipping the trails in shape. Ben, still in high school, took care of a swath of endless salal on the back side of Scout Mountain virtually all by himself.

After a hot climb, Bruce is momentarily hogtied fighting the flies on the summit of Mount Troubridge (1300 m) buzzing around his head. They saw him coming a long ways off and launched an attack. Not to worry he's handled worse in a lifetime of working in the woods.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Centre Lakes Alpine Hike

There is a small landslide blocking off the road to Centre Lakes about 3 km before the trail head. This adds 70-90 min. walk uphill and about 45 min. downhill. Many alders and willows have bent over (from the now disappeared snow load) slowing the roadwalk. I told the trees to straighten up which may work. It was a wet walk.

We camped at the trail head parking lot and hiked the trail the next morning. The first 2 km of trail is encroached upon by berry bushes but still visible. The rest of the trail was in good shape and pretty easy to follow with no snow on it. Using tape we marked the path in the open heather covered area. This is one of the prettiest walks in the district as most of the trail has great mountain views.

The warm spring means there are only a few patches of snow left and we never used our crampons. We walked to the first mountaintop on the right before reaching the second lake. The circle walk around the second lake is too snowy to do yet.

Peter Behr

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Freda Mountain Ascent

On Sunday four of us climbed Freda: Saun and Elayne Leach, and Paul Clements. It was snowing & hailing on top briefly.

There is almost no snow on the diagonal trail which we took up hill. Most snow is melted by our hot May & June weather, and you don't need crampons or snowshoes any more.

There are a few big patches on the old trail good for bum sliding on the way down.

We took 3 1/2 hours up the diagonal and 3 hours down the old way. Trails are in pretty good shape but there are a few fallen trees. Freda is still a grunt for me due to the angle of ascent (straight up! :)

Peter Behr

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Trail Maintenance Update June 2009

Over the last few months since the winter storms we have cleared out Sections 1,2 and 3 from Sarah Point (KM 0) to Confederation Lake Cabin (KM 74).

Also nearing maintenance completion is Section 5 from Eagle River (KM 137) to Saltery Bay (KM 178) via the Fairview Bay Trail.

According to reports from through-hikers the remainder of Section 5 is traversible with a few downed trees not presenting any major challenges. These will be removed in the next couple of weeks.

That leaves Section 4 from Fiddlehead, over Tin Hat Mountain and through the Smith Range. We have a report of some trees down on Walt Hill in the Smith Range. We will get to these in July.

Unfortunately Western Forest Products is going to be busy logging on or near the trail just southwest of Spring Lake. There is a temporary reroute in place that uses about a three kilometre stretch of the Alaska Pine Road, which is used by ATVs too. The reroute signage is in place there as well as laminated maps advising of the temporary closure and reroute. Also impacted by Western FP activities will be the Blue Ridge section of the SCT at Mile 4 of Goat Main, and where the new Deer Main crosses it. We are hoping Western will delay logging there until the fall when the busy tourist season is finished.

A different tricky spot is finding the resumption of the Sunshine Coast Trail from Mowat Bay going south. For the last few years we are having to walk through a part of Cranberry up Mowat Ave, left on Cranberry St, left on Tatlow St, left on Warner Ave and right Grenville Street, and on up the Telus Road to get back to the SCT. This 4X4 road levels out above the gravel pit with a recent cutblock on the right, and an opening on the west affording views of Valentine Mountain and Mowat Bay below. Just after the road rises again toward the topmost end of the cutblock there is a level pull out on the right hand side in the clear cut. The access to the trail that takes you down onto Tony's Trail, and on to Haywire Bay etc, lies directly across the road of this level pull out of the cutblock, although sometimes you wouldn't know it (GPS coordinates: N 49°52.686', W 124°31.130').

We have been putting up signs and markers in this location ever since we have had to use this reroute. Frequently we find that someone unknown to us removes the signs and markers indicating the trailhead. Not only that, this person also trashes the beginning of the trail by throwing branches and logs on top of the trail making it virtually impossible to see where the trail is. This has created a difficult situation for tourists that come to this stretch for the first time to resume hiking where the trail continues in the forest. Some of them had no choice other than to either give up, or use Inland Lake Road to get to the SCT at Haywire Bay. Please help - if you can - keep this trailhead open and visible. We have replaced the signs and markers sometimes on a weekly basis. Extra hands would be welcome

The weather has been fabulous through May and into June and we are seeing visitors from all around the globe. I encountered a young Czech couple that is currently spending a week hiking the SCT. They chose Powell River over the west coast of the island.

We anticipate that sometime next month we will get the final green light to begin construction of the 8 shelters and two wilderness huts along the length of the Sunshine Coast Trail. The two huts which will go on Tin Hat Mountain and Mount Troubridge will look fairly similar to the Confederation Cabin and have similar dimensions. We are looking forward to seeing the first one going up later this fall.

Happy trails.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Penticton Trails

Just an update, a gravel pit was approved by Lands Branch for the area up from Les's Lumber and road construction has started. This will will probably wipe out a few of the trails in that area. Not many people are aware of this.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Marathon Shuffle route and Sarah Point

Section Two of the Sunshine Coast Trail from Malaspina Road to the Shingle Mill on Powell Lake (the Marathon Shuffle route)is groomed from one end to the other. Also cleared are Sarah Point to Feather Cove, Bliss Portage to Cochrane Bay and on to Wednesday Lake, and out Gilpin Road to Sarah Point Road. Gwendoline Hills Trail from Wednesday Lake to Malaspina Road is good, but could use a little salal whacking near Hummingbird Bluff. Reportedly one tree down at about Km 17 near the Spire access trail from Lund, but easy to step over.
Remainder of SCT from Powell Lake south will be gone over in the coming weeks.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Penticton Trails

Update on the Penticton Trails, logging has been completed on the far end of the area and the loggers have re-established the trails (some hand clearing to be done). There are plans to put in some connectors to link the new roads with the trails. We will have work parties on Thursday evenings starting April 2. Anyone interested we can meet at the yellow gate at the top of Penticton & Ontario at 6:00 p.m.