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.