Historic trail grand opening May long weekend

Hope Mountain Outdoor is re-opening the HBC (1849) Heritage Trail, the route connecting B.C.'s coast and interior during the fur trade.

Chilliwack historical re-enactor Rick Herfst discusses the re-opening of the Hudson's Bay Company (1849) Heritage Trail

Chilliwack historical re-enactor Rick Herfst discusses the re-opening of the Hudson's Bay Company (1849) Heritage Trail

In May, the 75 kilometre HBC (1849) Heritage Trail will join the ranks of B.C.’s epic, multi-day, bucket-list hikes.

The historic route once served as the primary passage of the HBC horse brigades through the Cascades during the fur trade, linking B.C.’s coast and interior region. Prior to HBC use, First Nations had been gathering, hunting and trading along the Tulameen Plateau for centuries.

Thanks to nearly six years of work by Hope Mountain Centre volunteers and staff, as well as provincial and federal funding, the trail has been re-opened for public recreational use.

Section by section, devoted historical and outdoor enthusiasts retraced the route, restored and cleared the trail, and installed all the necessary markers, signage, access points, foot bridges and steps.

They’ve made the trail a camping destination by building tent pads, fire rings, outhouses, benches and installing bear-proof food caches at campsites along the route. Some of the campsites are specifically built in the very plots where explorers camped back in 1849.

They’ll be celebrating the grand re-opening of this lush trail on May long weekend (May 21-23).

Historians and historical re-enactors, like Chilliwack’s Rick Herfst, will be on-site to immerse visitors in life during the days of the fur trade.

Herfst has frequented the trail many times, with volunteer working groups and with his wife for some sensational hiking.

“Even without knowing the history of it, it’s fantastic, beautiful back-country,” Herfst enthused.

Visitors experience a greater appreciation by knowing the incredible historical significance of the route for the history of British Columbia and Canada at large.

HBC employee Alexander Anderson was tasked to find a trail to allow British fur traders to transport furs to the coast. Thanks to the help of First Nations guides, including Similkameen Chief Blackeye, Anderson succeeded.

Completed in 1849, the trail linked key fur forts from Hope to Tulameen, to Kamloops, and beyond to Fort Alexandria and Fort St. James. The HBC Brigade Trail played a significant role in keeping this part of the continent out of the control of the United States.

Each time that Herfst is on the trail, he makes his way to the highest point, and fire’s his black powder gun in the air as a tribute to those who worked, travelled, and died on this trail.

“It was a hard trip,” he said. “But it was also an incredible adventure, and a magnificent accomplishment.”

“Some of these guys were real characters. They performed great feats of bravery,” Herfst explained. He and fellow re-enactors are motivated to share those stories with the locals who attend the annual Brigade Days events. He’s seen a renewed interest in Canadian history as we approach the 150th anniversary of Canada in 2017.

Learn more about the history of the trail and the work to re-open it online at hopemountain.org. Find maps of the trail’s access points and information for hikers online as well.

Celebrate history on May long weekend at the HBC 1849 Brigade Trail. On Saturday, May 21 the events will take place at the eastern end of the trail near Tulameen. Sunday’s festivities continue at Peers Creek, the western trailhead.

Both events are free and open to all ages, with vehicle access to both sites.  Watch hopemountain.org for more details about the event.


Just Posted

Rohan arul-Pragasam, Chilliwack School District’s interim superintendent, has been appointed superintendent of schools effective June 15, 2021. (Chilliwack School District)
Interim position becomes permanent for Rohan Arul-pragasam at Chilliwack School District

Arul-pragasam said he was ‘humbled to continue as a steward’ in new role as superintendent of schools

PlanCultus was adopted in 2017 as a guiding document for Cultus Lake Park. (Cultus Lake Park Board)
More affordable housing options could be coming to Cultus Lake Park

Online survey opened on June 14 to gauge opinion on plaza redevelopment eyed for Village Centre

The Abbotsford International Airshow is back for 2021 with the ‘SkyDrive’ concept.
Abbotsford International Airshow returns for 2021 with ‘SkyDrive’

New format features a drive-in movie type experience, show set for Aug. 6 to 8

A young couple walks through the Othello Tunnels just outside of Hope. (Jessica Peters/Black Press)
Hope’s Othello Tunnels fully open to the public

Geological testing proved the area safe enough to open for the first time in more than a year

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

For more than a year, Rene Doyharcabal and a small group of neighbours in Langley’s Brookswood neighbourhood have been going out every evening to show support for first responders by honking horns and banging pots and drums. Now, a neighbour has filed a noise complaint. (Langley Advance Times file)
Noise complaint filed against nightly show of support for health care workers in B.C. city

Langley Township contacted group to advise of complaint, but no immediate action is expected

A nurse prepares a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Yukon Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Thomas
Vancouver couple pleads guilty to breaking Yukon COVID rules, travelling for vaccine

Chief Judge Michael Cozens agreed with a joint sentencing submission,

An inmate in solitary confinement given lunch on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN/Lars Hagberg
22-hour cap on solitary confinement for youth in custody still too long: B.C. lawyer

Jennifer Metcalfe was horrified to hear a youth had spent a total of 78 straight days in isolation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

COVID-related trash is washing up on shorelines across the world, including Coldstream’s Kal Beach, as pictured in this May 2021 photograph. (Jennifer Smith - Black Press)
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

Most Read