A hiking trail in Chilliwack got some much-needed attention by local outdoor enthusiasts on B.C. Trails Day on Saturday.
Pierce Lake Trail, located about 35 kilometres up Chilliwack Lake Road, had been neglected for two winters but folks with the Chilliwack Outdoor Club volunteered their time to make the trail user-friendly again.
“COVID-19 may have prevented many people from doing much over the past two seasons but it did not stop the alders from growing over our local trails, deadfall from two winters to accumulate, or weeds to grow so thick and high that parking at trailhead access becomes difficult,” said Christine Camilleri, member of the Chilliwack Outdoor Club.
She was one of more than 30 people who spent B.C. Trails Day (Saturday, June 5) tackling some of the jobs on the list that day. Twenty-five members of the club were on hand along with three arborists and family from Bruinsma Tree Service who volunteered their time.
They brought with them loppers, chainsaws, shovels and fuel. Some people cleared out the overgrown weeds from the parking area, while others took on the thick alders and bush that was overtaking the trail.
But the biggest project at Pierce Lake Trail that day was felling two trees – one rotten and the other damaged by lightning – and building a new bridge over the creek.
The group got permission from the Provincial Government (Recreation Sites and Trails B.C.) to construct the new log bridge.
“The bridge over this creek was damaged and removed two years ago and had fallen into the river. The only way to cross is by getting your feet wet in ice cold water and attempting to cross,” Camilleri said. “During spring runoff this can be very dangerous and has turned back many because of the risk of falling into the river.”
A 4.5-foot diameter hemlock, about 100 feet tall, was selected to be the new log bridge because it was in some distress due to a previous lightning strike.
“The crew skillfully downed the tree to create a 60-foot bridge to cross the creek well above the high water level with minimal re-routing of the existing trail leading to the new bridge and the one on either side,” Camilleri said. “The tree took less than six minutes to fell and with a resounding crash it became the much needed and sturdy bridge over the creek that will last many years.”
Applause echoed through the trees when it hit the ground.
Once the new bridge was down, club members installed vertical posts along it to serve as a railing. Aluminum treads will also be installed to ensure it provides safe passage for hikers.
Camilleri said the work done that day was “a great way to commemorate B.C. Trails Day.”
Pierce Lake Trail is a steep hike with more than 1200 metres in elevation in just six kilometres of trail leading to Pierce Lake.
“The reward is a beautiful lake that is reached once you cross a wide rushing creek,” Camilleri said.