FMCBC Partners with Victoria High School to Make Trail Markers

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Kai shearing the material from strips to finished dimensions, using a power shear. The power shear is the oldest piece of equipment in the shop, but also the best!

Trail markers make the backcountry a safer and more enjoyable place to visit, and they’re always popular with our members. And this year, instead of ordering pre-made markers, we partnered with a high school in Victoria to make them for us. Students in the metalworking program at Victoria High School worked hard to create about 1850 markers, and they turned out great! As always, the aluminum markers are made with 3M diamond grade reflective orange sheeting, come pre-drilled in the corner, and will last for years.

The markers cost the FMCBC about $1 each, and as in the past, we subsidized the cost to members by 50%. At just 50 cents each, the new markers are substantially more cost effective than our previous ones. And, they give students valuable experience and help support their school (which you really can’t put a price on).

We’ll be presenting Vic High with an honorarium for their work, and if our members are happy with the new trail markers, we’ll work with teacher Kevin Blecic and his students again next year.  Also thanks to Tran Sign for providing the aluminum sheeting with reflective coating attached, and for waiving the delivery charges.

All the trail markers are now sold, but we’ll let you know as soon as the next batch is available next spring. In the meantime, you can reserve trail markers by emailing admin.manager@mountainclubs.org. Trail markers are sold by the FMCBC on a first come, first serve basis.

 

 

Tips for Installing Trail Markers

Kai sorting and punching the holes in the markers.
  • Use stainless steel deck screws so they can be backed off as the tree grows and expands. Some of the older markers can and do get sucked in and swallowed by trees after 20 or so years, and even steel ones get folder over.
  • The screws should be at a slight downward angle to allow the marker to slide back against the tree, instead of drooping off the nailhead untidily and having ice build up behind it.
  • Leave about ¼” to ½”out of the tree to compensate for the inevitable tree growth.

And in case you’re wondering why the hole is in the corner, it’s because the markers need to be left “loose” on the tree, not pounded right up against the bark. If the hole is in the centre (which we used to do), the weight and leverage of the snow/ice buildup over the winter will gradually fold the marker over, or even pop it off the nail. Having the hole in the corner, far enough from the edge so the marker doesn’t break, allows the marker to hang on the tree without snow and ice getting behind it. And it also ensures the marker is always hanging vertically. Neatness counts!

(Thanks to Alex Wallace for the tips.)

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