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Getting interactive on the Vedder Rotary Trail

Mayor Sharon Gaetz and Dave Snider, with the city
Mayor Sharon Gaetz and Dave Snider, with the city's Parks, Recreation and Culture department, show the new Trail Talker site for smartphones.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS

Psst! Here's a little-known tidbit of Chilliwack history: Vedder Crossing borrowed its name from an early settler who bought land in the area in the 1870s.

Volkert Vedder owned tracts of land near where the Vedder Bridge is now, at the point where the Chilliwack River turns into the Vedder River.

That's the kind of fun factoid found on the new interactive program, TrailTalker, created for visitors of the well-used Vedder Rotary Trail in Chilliwack.

With a whopping 15,000 users hitting the trail every month,  many will be eager to learn more about it, says Mayor Sharon Gaetz.

"The interest will be there because of the sheer magnitude of the number of people using that trail," she said. "That's where they do their hiking, running and dog-walking."

The website TrailTalker.com is like an audio tour guide, pointing out points of interest, and is the result of recent trail enhancements made by the City of Chilliwack and the Rotary Club of Chilliwack.

TrailTalkers provides a high-tech tool "to enjoy, appreciate and learn about the natural world" surrounding the riverside trail.

Voiced by the effervescent Scott Riley of Star-FM fame, the TrailTalker vignettes are downloaded as MP3s from a Smartphone, iPod or MP3 at the trailhead.

"Chilliwack is especially proud of its trails and parks system," Gaetz said.

Riley's familiar voice can be heard describing landmarks like the Vedder bridge, the river, the canal, flood history, salmon fishing, beavers, and the nearby Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve.

"It's a good first step," the mayor added. The next step is developing a QR code that will take users straight to the website.

"We have the technology, so why not use it? They tried to cover everything of interest."

To check it out, go to www.trailtalker.com and click on 'Download mp3' button. Teachers or students who'd like a printout to use as an educational tool or for personal interest, can click on 'Educational Resources' to do so.

"I think it's remarkable," Gaetz added. "Also they will keep it fresh by updating it every once in a while."

 

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