The call for volunteers to help trail building in the new Community Forest Park project was heard loud and clear around Chilliwack.
Volunteers with Chilliwack Park Society have now roughed in about 800 metres of the 2.5 km beginner trail.
“The response from volunteers has been large enough that we planned an earlier trail day last Monday night,” said park society member Marc Greidanus.
Part of the challenge is the fact that there weren’t any applicable grants with deadlines falling between March and September.
Their project on the municipal property designated ‘community forest’ did not obtain the green light by March, when deadlines loomed for grants. Because they hope to be over halfway completed on the beginner trail by September, the group will be relying heavily on donations in this initial phase to get it done.
“The Chilliwack Park Society would like to express our sincere thanks for the generous support of Mayor Gaetz and Council, as well as City staff. Our interactions with everyone from Mayor Gaetz to the accounting clerks in the finance department have been overwhelmingly positive. Glen MacPherson and City Park staff have provided specific expertise as well as practical and efficient solutions.”
The Community Forest Park project on Allan Road is estimated to cost $102,000 with about half the funding coming from City of Chilliwack.
They are in between grant sessions and want the public to know it’s possible to obtain charitable receipts for any Community Forest Project donations.
Cheques marked “Chilliwack Park Society – Community Forest” can either be dropped off at city hall finance department or given to park society members at the upcoming Trail Day, set for July 19 at 1 p.m. at 51996 Allan Road.
“This is huge for us!” enthused Greidanus. “Watching things actually happen has been very affirming, and the offer of charitable tax receipts is so helpful to our cause.”
The basic idea in the larger sense is to build the trail system, connecting Bridal Falls Provincial Park, to the new Community Forest Park on Allan Road, eventually linking up with the Elk-Thurston saddle and Ryder Lake.
A beginner trail of 2.5 km will be wide and gradual, accessible to all fitness levels. The moderate trail at 7 km will feature slightly steeper grades, and looping options.
It will help encourage people to get outdoors, actively exploring the local mountainsides, said Greidanus, whose day job is as a local physician at the hospital.
The access road to the park has been graded and gravelled by city crews.
“They have also delivered gravel for us to use and started on the parking lot,” he said.