A local group is hoping to link hillside trails from Bridal Falls Provincial Park (above) the Easter Hillsides.

World class potential seen in Chilliwack hillside trails

Chilliwack Park Society hopes to one day see trails connecting Bridal Falls, to the Chilliwack Community Forest above Allan Road

Picture a vast network of trails snaking through the hillsides above Chilliwack.

That’s the vision of a new group formed to advocate for better parks and trails in Chilliwack, said Marc Greidanus, one of the founders of the Chilliwack Park Society.

“Our first big project is the facilitation of a trail system above the Eastern Hillsides,” he said.

So far they’ve had talks with City of Chilliwack, FVRD and Ministry of Forests, and local outdoor-oriented groups.

The basic idea is to build a multi-use trail system, connecting Bridal Falls Provincial Park, to the Chilliwack Community Forest above Allan Road, eventually connecting to the Elk-Thurston saddle and Ryder Lake.

The trails would be for hiking, running, mountain biking and horseback riding, and would dovetail with new development eyed for the eastern hillsides. City of Chilliwack has a long-term plan for trails in the area, which are connected to potential development cells in the hillsides.

“If the city follows through on even half of those proposed walking trails, and they connect to our proposed trail system on Crown land, it will create a world-class outdoor network connecting multiple communities,” offered Greidanus.

Trail work by Chilliwack Park Society volunteers could begin as early as the spring of 2015.

First they would start on clearing a trail from Allan Road to Bridal Falls, before going the other way from Allan Road to the hanging valley about Elk Falls, and on to the Elk-Thurston saddle, and a through trail to Ryder Lake.

Their work will ultimately be aimed at getting more Chilliwackians outdoors, actively exploring their mountainsides, said Greidanus, whose day job is as a local physician at the hospital.

The new trails would encourage more physical activity, like the Japanese practice of “shinrin-yoku,” sometimes described as ‘forest bathing’ for reducing stress and improved health.

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 trails effort.

“Chilliwack residents from Popkum to Promontory will be able to leave the car in the garage, walk out their front door and embark on anything from an hour jog, to a multi-day alpine hike,” he said, fleshing out their vision. “It’s more ‘shinrin yoku’ for the citizens of Chilliwack.”

City officials have indicated support for the idea of building parking lot near the 50-acre Community Forest, between Allan Road and Ruddock Road.

The Park Society’s funding is expected to come from fundraising and grants.

So who will build all the trails?

“Volunteers, friends and people from my church, who have said they are willing to help,” he replied. “The good thing is that people are really on-board with this.”

The trails are one aspect of the society’s vision. Parks and green spaces are another.

The group’s volunteers will perform tasks like the trail building, helping with park planning prior to land development, rejuvenating existing parks and eventually raising money towards the purchase of land for nature trusts or community forest.

They’ve discussed the idea with the Chilliwack Trail Society, FVMBA, and the Chilliwack Riding Club, and others. Next up is further talks with FVRD reps, with a meeting set for Nov. 25, and meetings with local First Nations.

Here is the society’s purpose:

“To advocate for existing and new park and green spaces in Chilliwack that foster active, healthy lifestyles while protecting valuable flora and fauna.

“We aim to collaborate and build partnerships with local government, Chilliwack residents, and others to create sustainable parks in this growing, dynamic, and environmentally diverse area.”

They’ve worked hard to establish some early buy-in at various levels of government by purposely taking “a respectful and collaborative” approach, noted Greidanus.

If the early section gets built, it could set the stage for the entire network.

“After that, over the years we can start adding biking, hiking and equestrian trails,” he said.

They could even “hook up Elk and Cheam,” building tent pads in the alpine sections high above Chilliwack.

Other groups are working on similar projects in other areas, like the Chilliwack Trail Society in the Chilliwack River Valley, with plans for 13 trails.

“It’s time for Chilliwack to fulfill its potential as a world-class outdoor destination,” Greidanus concluded.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/chwkjourno

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. taxpayers could be on the hook for upwards of $27 million in total payouts for MLA pensions. (file)
Pensions are adding up for defeated, retiring MLAs: Taxpayers’ group

Martin and Throness would get $28,000 per year, lifetime pensions estimated ~$700K

Halloween enhanced image of a pumpkin patch to get you going. (Ryan Dyck Photography)
Halloween displays around Chilliwack are always a treat

Here is a list of addresses where some of the more creative Halloween displays can be viewed

Google Maps screenshot taken at 7:56 a.m., Oct. 29.
TRAFFIC: Westbound Highway 1 crash between Chilliwack and Abbotsford

Left lane is blocked, traffic backed up to No. 3 Road

A woman holds a packet of contraceptive pills. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Chilliwack women’s organization among those lobbying for free contraception

Ann Davis Society says while it’s a women’s issue, all of society would benefit from program

Jeremy Bull, budtender at Dutch Bros. Buds outside the new store on Vedder Road in Chilliwack. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Chilliwack Progress)
Cannabis retail shops in Chilliwack roll through the pandemic

Opening Chilliwack cannabis store in pandemic was ‘interesting’ says a licensed store manager

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks Thursday (Oct. 29) during a news conference held at Fraser Health office, in video posted to Facebook. (Photo: Government of British Columbai/Facebook)
COVID-19 ‘disproportionately’ affecting Fraser Health: Henry

Health region has about 75 per cent of B.C.’s active cases

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Most Read