Trail work by volunteers starts in the Eastern Hillsides

A community forest is being transformed into a wilderness park above Chilliwack with strong community collaboration.

Volunteers began trail work Sunday on what will become a vast network of trails in the Eastern Hillsides of Chilliwack.

Volunteers began trail work Sunday on what will become a vast network of trails in the Eastern Hillsides of Chilliwack.

A community forest is being transformed into a wilderness park high above Chilliwack with a vast network of recreational trails.

Trail work on the Community Forest Park Project kicked off last Sunday in the Eastern Hillsides, with Chilliwack Park Society volunteers roughing in the first 400 metres of trails.

Park Society spokesperson Marc Greidanus said the key idea behind the project is encouraging outdoor physical activity.

The trails will be for hiking, running, mountain biking, dog walking, all to dovetail with future development eyed for the hillsides.

“It’s exciting to be wandering around the forest and marking future trails,” Greidanus said.

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.

“We are a collaborative organization,” he noted about the newly minted Chilliwack Park Society. “The overall goal is community involvement and protecting green spaces.”

They made a point of getting all local stakeholders on board, right from the outset.

“The community is really coming together to make this happen,” Greidanus noted. “People bring their own passion, their way of doing things and perspectives to it. It’s also a little overwhelming in that it’s a lot of work, but it’s very exciting.”

It’s gone from casual discussions about trail-building among friends, to building a truly collaborative and inclusive partnership.

It’s in the early stages so far with long-term options including multi-use trails, trailhead parking, picnic facilities, scenic views, and interpretive elements explaining traditional Sto:lo uses.

The Park Society has partnered with City of Chilliwack and FV Mountain Bikers Association, and had discussions with FVRD and Ministry of Forests. Partnerships are also being forged with Cheam First Nation, Heartland Fellowship, Unity Christian School and more.

“We are also looking for community participation in the creation of the park,” he added.

Hillsides residents and other volunteers will be facilitating both the construction and maintenance of the trail system.

The Community Forest Park project is estimated to cost $102,000 with about half the funding coming from City of Chilliwack.

The basic idea is to build the trail system, connecting Bridal Falls Provincial Park, to the Community Forest, eventually connecting to the Elk-Thurston saddle and Ryder Lake.

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 trails will lead to more physical activity outdoors, like the Japanese practice of “shinrin-yoku,” sometimes described as ‘forest bathing’ known to reduce stress and improve well being.

Build-out estimates could see a population of 6,700 people living on the Eastern Hillsides over the coming years, which is part of what’s driving the trail building effort.

The first community trail day is set for Sunday, July 19 at 1 p.m. Volunteers will meet in the parking lot south of Allan Road. For more information or Chilliwack Park Society on FB.

* this version has been modified from the original to correct erroneous info. There is no horseback riding on the trails allowed.

Just Posted

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months. (RCMP photo)
UPDATE: Chilliwack RCMP looking for missing 20-year-old woman

Parents of Alexis Paige Simpson provide corrected information in missing person report

BC Wildfire Service (Black Press Media files)
Fire at Eleven Mile Creek near Hope classified as out of control

It’s a small blaze so far at 20 hectares, but firefighters don’t yet have a handle on it

A drone’s-eye view of the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge. (Screenshot/Shutter Speed Network)
Kent Council advocates for a wider Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge

Council voted unanimously to send letter of concern to transportation ministry

Tourism Abbotsford has launched the ‘Let’s Go Do Something’ campaign to encourage visitors to check out all Abbotsford has to offer. (Tourism Abbotsford photo)
Tourism Abbotsford launches ‘Let’s Go Do Something’ campaign

Visitors encouraged to check out all Abbotsford has to offer this summer

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in December that Surrey’s new hospital will be located in Cloverdale, next to KPU. (File photo: Malin Jordan)
Health minister expects construction of Surrey’s new hospital in Cloverdale to begin in 2023, open in 2027

Adrian Dix spoke Tuesday in a Zoom meeting hosted by the Surrey Board of Trade concerning the new hospital

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)
Penticton heads to court over homeless shelter as BC Housing audit begins

The city was not satisfied with the response from Minister David Eby regarding the ongoing situation

People enjoy the sun at Woodbine Beach on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
BC Hydro assures customers it has ‘more than enough’ power to weather the heatwave

Despite an increase of pressure on the Western grid, blackouts are not expected like in some U.S. states

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pilots say no reason to continue quarantines for vaccinated international travellers

Prime minister says Canada still trying to limit number of incoming tourists

Police closed off 16th Avenue between 232nd and 240th streets in Aldergrove Saturday night at the site of a reported motor vehicle accident. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Survivors of rollover crash thank Good Samaritans for coming to their aid

Collision flipped vehicle into a 10-foot ditch on 16th Avenue in Langley

Most Read