Karver’s Trail is the best part of a sad Chilliwack story

The 1.3-km trail in Karver’s name is connected to the summit loop of Mt. Thom Park. The trailhead is on Ross Road, off Ryder Lake Road,

Judy McCormick and Jim Morford are proud of Karver's Trail

Judy McCormick and Jim Morford are proud of Karver's Trail

Karver Morford would have turned 40 last Sunday.

His parents are taking some comfort from a new recreational trail, Karver’s Trail, named in memory of their murdered son.

Karver’s mom, Judy McCormick, said he would’ve been “very proud and happy” to see his name emblazoned on trail markers as part of a network of trails in Mt. Thom Park.

“Most people don’t get that kind of legacy,” she said.

There are still many locals who have not had the chance to try the trail out yet with its stunning views along a ridge in the hills above Chilliwack.

“People have seen the signs. But many don’t know why the trail is there, or where it goes,” McCormick told The Progress.

The people who donated the land for Karver’s Trail in Ryder Lake asked for complete anonymity, so the trail opening was a rather low-key affair.

“They’re very generous and kind-hearted people who liked him and felt bad about what happened,” Karver’s mom said. “They wanted to give something to the community that would be a lasting legacy, to make up somehow for what happened.”

Karver Morford was killed in his Ryder Lake home in November 2010 by unknown assailants under mysterious circumstances. He lived alone and unfortunately, his cold-blooded murder has never been solved.

His mom posts a memorial message in the paper every year for Karver, and his obituary describes him as the “innocent victim of a senseless act of violence.”

Karver was remembered as an outgoing and mischievous youth, who later felt stigmatized by his epilepsy, which was diagnosed at 14.

He lived for a time on Prairie Central Road. He loved nature and gardening, and tinkering with vehicles. Over the years he worked at a dairy farm, on a ranch, as a handlogger and later as a landscaper.

Karver was taken suddenly from his loved ones at the age of 35, and they still don’t know what happened.

“Someone out there knows something,” his mom said. “Every year, I remind them that I know that.”

McCormick said she was thrilled by the land donation that made Karver’s Trail possible.

“It just proves there are still good people in the world, which is good to know when you feel overwhelmed by all the bad people out there.”

The people who donated the 10 acres for the trail in Ryder Lake did not know at first that their property abutted Mt. Thom Park, she noted, which ended up being a lucky coincidence.

McCormick and Karver’s dad were happy to talk about the trail, in the hopes that more people would try it out. It’s now one of three trails that lead to the stunning Mt. Thom summit.

The 1.3-km trail in Karver’s name is connected to the summit loop of Mt. Thom Park.

The trailhead is located on Ross Road, off Ryder Lake Road, with a freshly gravelled parking lot with room for four vehicles. It features great maps showing the trail that can be for hiking and equestrian use.

As one of the conditions of the donation, the land can never be altered or changed and it will remain parkland in perpetuity.

Mayor Sharon Gaetz hiked the brand-new Karver’s Trail along with city staff, when it was opened officially this past spring.

“The pain of losing a child can be unbearable at times,” Gaetz said.

“I do pray that as people walk this beautiful trail they will honour Karver’s memory and find solace and peace in their own daily lives.”

Park Operations department held a trail opening in May, and described Karver’s Trail as offering “some of the best views and vistas of the valley and the mountains beyond.

“With so many incredible viewing locations it was difficult to choose the best place for the viewpoint sign,” wrote staff in a report.

Time has ticked away since Karver’s untimely death, but it hasn’t removed the sting.

“It’s been a rough five years,” McCormick admitted.

“This trail is the only good and positive thing to come out of something so bad.”

He was an “eccentric young man” who was “different and special,” she added. “When they made him, they broke the mould.”

They have moved on, but the pain lingers.

“Those of us left here behind are reeling in shock that someone so harmless could come to such a brutal end,” McCormick wrote in her son’s obituary.

Karver’s dad, Jim Morford, said it “bittersweet” to walk the trail now, but he appreciated all that went into making it a reality for the whole community.

“I’m glad it’s here.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/chwkjourno

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