Support welcomed for Chilliwack trails

Local MLAs helped to secure a provincial trail-building grant for the Chilliwack Park Society. The next trail-building day is May 9.

MLAs Laurie Throness and John Martin joined Community Forest project coordinator Marc Greidanus and explored the Community Forest.

MLAs Laurie Throness and John Martin joined Community Forest project coordinator Marc Greidanus and explored the Community Forest.

The Chilliwack Park Society received a recent boost of support as volunteers weave their way through another area of our local wilderness.

With the advocacy of MLAs Laurie Throness and John Martin, the society has received at $5,000 trail building grant from the Province of B.C.

“I had been talking to the MLAs about the Community Forest Project, and pitched the trail infrastructure as an economic benefit for the area,” project coordinator Marc Greidanus explained.

Together, they laced up their hiking boots and journeyed through the trails that volunteers had built, recognizing the park’s benefits immediately. Greidanus submitted the formal application and both MLAs “went to bat” on behalf of the project.

“It’s a very worthy project with great spinoff value for the area,” John Martin said.

Chilliwack Park Society volunteers have thus far completed a 1.5 km Pi:txel beginner trail, and a 2 km Chólqthet moderate loop trail, installed detailed signage, cleared an access road, and have built amenities within the park.

Project coordinators have extensive plans in the works for future trails.

The recent funding will support volunteer efforts for a new 7 km alpine hiking trail to connect the Community Forest to the existing Elk-Thurston trail, with a 1200 m elevation gain. They’re also working on a 2.5 km canyon biking loop and a black diamond downhill trail.

“Their plans are fabulous,” Martin added. “It will be a recreation opportunity that people from near and far will come to enjoy in our community.”

Those involved in the trail-building efforts range from dedicated outdoor enthusiasts who work on similar projects on a regular basis, to kids and school groups who are eager beginners to trail-building.

Since the project’s inception, the Community Forest Project has received sustained support from community members, organizations, City staff and our local government officials.

It’s an initiative that’s easy to get behind. When volunteers see the results of their hard work – a wild forest transformed into a beautiful and much-appreciated trail network – the sight is a reward that itself encourages them to return to tackle the next leg of the project.

“As Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, I see a great interest in this type of project,” Martin said. “There’s a great group of people behind this who are so connected, so inspiring, and with great stories to tell.”

The next community trail-building days are Monday, May 9 at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 12 at 12:30 p.m.

The Chilliwack Community Forest is located at 51996 Allan Road. Trail-builders are asked to bring closed-toed shoes, work gloves, a shovel and water.

The public is also invited to the Chilliwack Park Society’s annual general meeting which is scheduled for Sunday, May 15 at 4 p.m. at the Chilliwack Corn Maze (41905 Yale Rd) for an update on the project and the opportunity for community input.

To learn more about the project, visit chillliwackparksociety.ca.