Coun. Sam Waddington near the new trailhead for day-use facilities and a trail connector to the community forest, under construction this summer near Nevin Creek. The historic site, with an old sluice gate pictured, is a former water intake source for City of Chilliwack. (Submitted)

New trail link from Chilliwack Community Forest to the valley floor underway

The new trail will boast 350-metre elevation drop for mountain-bikers, hikers and more

A new trail stretching from the Chilliwack Community Forest down to the valley floor is under construction in the Eastern Hillsides.

The multi-use connector trail will be for mountain biking, hiking and trail running, accessible from Hack Brown Road, boasting a 350-metre elevation drop — or rise, depending on which way you’re heading.

The trailhead on City of Chilliwack property will have a day-use area, with parking, and facilities, when the work being done is completed.

Chilliwack Park Society and City of Chilliwack reps have been collaborating throughout, and on this latest project, building expansive infrastructure for the network of trails snaking through the hillsides.

The new trail will be 3.25-km long when it’s finished.

“For those who love mountain biking it will be able to be road shuttled,” posted Coun. Sam Waddington explaining some of the trail’s features recently.

“It’s pretty incredible,” he said. “That makes it the longest trail built in recent history.”

The new site, near a former drinking-water intake source for City of Chilliwack, will repurpose some of the sluice gates for trail bridges.

“These are the kind of sites we are trying to find and re-use,” said Waddington.

The new trail has yet to be named, said Marc Greidanus of Chilliwack Park Society.

As with the other recreational trails created with so much good will and community spirit in the Community Forest, city officials will be working with local First Nations and Park Society society reps on an appropriate trail name.

READ MORE: Community Forest creates possibilities

Various local themes for naming are being explored. This section of the hillsides tends to see very little sun, Greidanus said, so the historic Halqu’emeylem name for the area means “where the moss grows deep.”

Many highly valued Indigenous medicinal plants and species are thriving along the trail, which may inform the naming process.

The site was once operated by Elk Creek Waterworks to draw water from Dunville Creek and Nevin Creek, but now the land and even the infrastructure that remains is set to benefit the whole community and beyond again.

“For those who love mountain biking it will be able to be road shuttled,” posted Coun. Sam Waddington on social media, with photos and video.

The biggest cost in green space development is either the fixed cost of acquiring these lands, or the opportunity cost for what the land could be used for if not developed, he said.

“These are the kind of sites we are trying to find and re-use,” said Waddington.

READ MORE: Community forest coming along

As part of the 2018 trail network expansion program, city officials will be working on the trailhead and day use area. Some sections are on city owned land while others are on adjacent Crown land.

However the whole area is an active construction zone, with safety features to be installed in the coming weeks, it is still closed to the public at this point.

Anticipated completion of the trailhead works is mid-September.


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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