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.

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