Léon Lebrun leaps on the newly-named Léon Lebrun Bridge on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. (Submitted)

Léon Lebrun leaps on the newly-named Léon Lebrun Bridge on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. (Submitted)

Chilliwack hiking bridge named after ‘tireless champion’ of Trans Canada Trail

Léon Lebrun Bridge in Chilliwack named after 82-year-old man who’s volunteered 1000s of hours on trails

A hiking bridge in Chilliwack along the Trans Canada Trail was dedicated to a B.C. man who has spent thousands of volunteer hours maintaining local trails.

“The bridge has been named after the man who has been a tireless champion of the Trans Canada Trail for the past 25 years: Léon Lebrun,” said Christine Camilleri with the Chilliwack Outdoor Club.

The newly named Léon Lebrun Bridge is located at Pierce Creek up Chilliwack Lake Road. It’s an aluminum bridge for hikers and cyclists and was donated and built by volunteers about two years ago.

Folks from the Chilliwack Outdoor Club, Trails BC, Backcountry Horsemen, recreation sites and trails, and friends and family gathered on Sunday, Oct. 24 for the bridge-naming ceremony.

Lebrun used a chainsaw and log to officially open the Léon Lebrun Bridge as part of the “ribbon cutting ceremony.”

A sign at the Léon Lebrun Bridge on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. (Submitted)

A sign at the Léon Lebrun Bridge on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. (Submitted)

Lebrun lives in Port Moody and comes to Chilliwack regularly, including twice a week from the beginning of March to the end of June every year to maintain local trails.

Since 1996 Lebrun has spent thousands of hours volunteering on behalf of the non-motorized trail users community and notably on the Trans Canada Trail in the Chilliwack, Coquihalla Valley and Lower Mainland areas; estimates are he has travelled more than 200,000 kilometres. He wore out his first vehicle and his second is now more than 300,000 kilometres.

He got involved in the Trans Canada Trail after picking up a brochure about the idea of a national trail network. He contacted Trails BC and said he was interested in biking the trail.

The response he got was along the lines of, “that’s a great idea, but you will first have to build it,” Camilleri said.

So he began volunteering, became committed to the project and soon became an important player in the endeavour, both provincially and nationally.

Folks cross the newly named Léon Lebrun Bridge on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. (Submitted)

Folks cross the newly named Léon Lebrun Bridge on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. (Submitted)

Lebrun is 82 and still organizes and participates in about 15 annual trails events including trail maintenance. He leads biking trips, advocates for provision of safe cycling paths in the planning of transportation infrastructure, and received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work on behalf of trail users – not only for the Trans Canada Trail, but for all non-motorized users: equestrians, bikers, hikers.

He is also working with municipalities and Indigenous groups on a project to create a trail/pathway from Tsawwassen to North Vancouver.

Volunteers know him for taking short lunch breaks and getting everyone back to work.

“More than 10 minutes is a waste of time,” Lebrun said.

But he doesn’t consider it work.

“A day working on the trails is like having a holiday,” he said.

RELATED: Outdoor club cleans, repairs Pierce Creek Trail neglected for two winters

Members with Backcountry Horsemen during the naming ceremony for the Léon Lebrun Bridge on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. (Submitted)

Members with Backcountry Horsemen during the naming ceremony for the Léon Lebrun Bridge on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. (Submitted)


 

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