Chilliwack Park Society is taking the next steps in the creation of the Little Mountain Park Project.
A ‘Notice of Construction’ sign is in place at the base of the hillside to warn the public that work is starting on the Little Mountain Stairs on Yale Road, east of Quarry Road.
The stairs snaking up the hill will be higher than the Jinkerson stairs on the south side of town, with plans to build 340 steps up a gravel path, spanning about 130 metres.
The project is on a roll, said Marc Greidanus, spokesperson for the Little Mountain Park Society, and director of the Chilliwack Park Society.
“The staircase is an incredible initiative that saw broad and vocal support from city council,” Greidanus said. “Having an officially recognized park space on Little Mountain is critical in demonstrating this forest as a community asset that is worth protecting.”
The Chilliwack Park Society partnered with City of Chilliwack in the past year to transform city and private land into an urban forest park at the top of Little Mountain.
“On its own the staircase is a natural cardio workout for various fitness levels and will access two potential picnic areas, and more broadly the parking and trailhead act as a gateway to a whole new natural park space for Chilliwack,” Greidanus said.
As the Little Mountain stairs get built, two new project supporters, physiotherapist Remmert Hinlopen, and mountain biker Elijah Gray, have stepped forward to encourage others to donate to help protect the green space. They both are huge advocates for the park potential.
Hinlopen, owner of Fusion Physio, is a frequent user of the forest trails already. He’s donated $1,500 to the project through his own venture, and is encouraging others in the business community to do the same.
“This is what Chilliwack needs,” Hinlopen enthused about the new Little Mountain Park.
“It’s a unique forest. I live behind here, and it would be a shame to see it gone.”
He was pleased to hear that the park society and city officials had joined forces to work collaboratively on the project together.
“If I can contribute, with my business, which is in the health sector too, then I am happy,” Hinlopen explained.
For his part, Elijah Gray said that growing up on Fairfield Island he started mountain biking on the trails of Little Mountain as a kid.
“I am now racing semi professionally in mountain biking. And it all started here,” he said gesturing to the mountain.
“I built here. I rode here.”
For his birthday, Gray was going to burn an unbelievable 10,000 calories in one day in order to raise money to support the Little Mountain Park Project.
The mountain bike racer planned to get up at 3 a.m. and hike Elk mountain for starters. Then he would go on a run, hike again, some more running followed by a mountain bike ride.
There are plans to build 340 stairs going up the south face of the mountain. At the base of the stairs, there will be a new parking area at 46963 Yale Road.
The Little Mountain Park Project info can be found here.
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