Nearly a year of trail building has led up to this moment.
The Chilliwack Park Society will celebrate the official opening of the Community Forest with a hike this Saturday.
Since June of 2015, volunteers have – quite literally – been laying the groundwork for a network of trails in 130 acres of mature forest area.
Project manager Marc Greidanus has been working closely with Coun. Sam Waddington from the beginning, and the City of Chilliwack has embraced the project as a worthwhile initiative.
Families return again and again to shovel new sections of trail together, student groups come out as a class to clear shelters and work on water drainage, outdoor enthusiast groups like the Fraser Valley Mountain Bike Association offer time and expertise to ensure the park can reach its fullest potential.
Carrielynn Victor of the Sto:lo Shxweli Language Program has been essential in helping the Park Society name the various trails and create visuals for indicative signage throughout the forest.
Financial support comes from individual donations, some city funding as well as grants from local non-profits, businesses and, as announced earlier this month, the provincial government. Donations are greatly appreciated, well-used and continually accepted online at chilliwackparksociety.ca.
Thus far, volunteer efforts have successfully completed a 1.5 km Pi:txel beginner trail and a 2 km Chólqthet moderate loop trail. They continue to work on a new 7 km alpine hiking trail to lead up to the Elk-Thurston trail, a 2.5 km canyon biking loop, and other projects within the forest.
“It’s exciting to see everyone getting behind this project,” Greidanus remarked. “And it’s exciting to now have the gates open during the day, so people can hike right from the parking lot. It’s great to see the care and attention the city is putting towards this.”
The Chilliwack Park Society would like to thank the city and local businesses who’ve generously contributed their time, resources and excitement to this project.
The public are invited to celebrate the grand opening of the Chilliwack Community Forest with a group hike on Saturday, May 28 starting at 10 a.m. City staff including Mayor Gaetz will be there to break in the beautiful trails.
The Community Forest is located near the Eastern Hillsides at 51996 Allan Road. Paved parking is available on Forest Gate Drive, which is half a kilometre down Allan Road on the left (see map below). Attendees are asked to arrive at Forest Gate Drive between 8:30 to 9:30 a.m, where shuttle service up the gravel road to the event will be available every 15 minutes.