Posted by: friendsofstrathcona | June 25, 2010

Crest Trail open to the Public

June 22, 2010
MEDIA RELEASE
Friends of Strathcona Park

The Friends of Strathcona Park are ecstatic about the re-opening of the Crest Mountain Trail this past weekend. More than fifty volunteers showed up to clear an alternate route up Crest Mountain, bypassing the old trailhead, which had been closed to the public for the past two years.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the support we got”, says Kel Kelly , a spokesperson for the group. “Not only did we re-open the trail, we did so with the blessings of the government.” Negotiations between the Friends and BC Parks resulted in a signed agreement for the project on Friday, June 18th, one day before the project was scheduled to begin.

“Negotiations for the agreement were uncertain until the eleventh hour”, says Kelly, “but goodwill, compromise and forward momentum carried us through.” The Friends had stated their intention to proceed with the project with or without an official agreement with BC Parks.

BC Parks has committed to complete an options comparison assessment of the Crest trail by June 30, 2010. The assessment will compare the costs of repairing the old trail, with bridge replacement and watercourse remediation, to the costs of converting the newly cleared route to permanent trail status. BC Parks has committed to convey the results of the comparison assessment to the Friends directly and on their government website.

Should bridge replacement be identified as the preferred option, BC Parks has committed to complete the process by August 30, 2010 or sooner if possible, with a caveat to cover any unforeseen circumstances beyond their control. If any of these unforeseen problems arise, BC Parks further commits to relaying this information to the Friends immediately.

For their part, the Friends of Strathcona agreed to hold off on turning their proposed alternative route into a fully developed trail at this time. “We kept our mattocks and shovels in check”, says Kelly, “pending Parks’ decision on a final trail. We acknowledge that BC Parks has moved forward a great deal on this issue, and demonstrated their good faith. We feel obliged to do the same.”

Friends’ volunteers worked shoulder to shoulder with two park rangers on the project. Apart from providing manpower, the volunteer agreement enabled BC Parks to provide satellite telephones, first aid equipment and insurance coverage for all the volunteers. The youngest trail builder was aged six months, the eldest were in their seventies. A number of families joined the project as well.

“We hope our successful agreement for the Crest project will become a template for future trail repairs in the park”, says Kelly. The group is scheduled to work on the Bedwell Trail near Tofino in a similar project scheduled for August 14-18. The projects are part of a campaign by the Friends of Strathcona called Take Back the Park.

“We welcome anyone interested in helping out with these projects”, says Kelly. “If you are reasonably fit, looking for fun and eager to open the park back up to the public, we’d love to have you along.”

For further information contact : Bob St.John at 250 890-0780, or rwstjohn@gmail.com or Kel Kelly at 250 337-8348 or kelkelly55@yahoo.ca

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