Thanks to Alex Wallace, SWBC Trails Committee co-chair, for putting this report together.

Howe Sound Crest Trail work continues…

Howe Sound Crest Trail crew

BC Parks and Wallace shutting down the trail crew on the Howe Sound Crest Trail on Oct 12th, 2017, due to the fact that it had already snowed and they weren’t going to get much more done. It was a good decision—they had a machine get away from them in a previous year and ‘fortunately’ it slid against the rock face and only sheared the door off.

The trail crew made good progress on the Howe Sound Crest Trail in 2017, but when snow hit early on October 12th—followed by torrential rain—a decision was made to call a halt, so the season of work was shortened to less than four months this year. As well, a decision to reroute had been made by BC Parks to reduce the length of the last switchback by some 200 metres, and also to avoid the constant hiker traffic on busy days through the area under construction with machinery. However, visitors soon realized that the partly built new section of trail was more appealing than the unimproved section with boulders and roots to clamber over, so they followed the trail crew, and this cunning strategy to avoid sporadic interruptions to the work was only partly successful.

After it snowed, the trail crew was able to withdraw the equipment safely from the higher elevation during a break in the weather, and they continued in late October working to reroute the eroded section of the trail at the green water tank trailhead on the Howe Sound Crest Trail East.

Part of this crew then transferred over to the busy Dog Mountain Trail on Mount Seymour, where they started the first stage of a five-year trail rebuild project funded by Metro Vancouver. This part of Mount Seymour is within the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve and is co-managed by BC Parks and Metro Vancouver. Overall there was some progress in trail rebuilding, but the short season of four months at this elevation means there is an annual juggling act with limited budgets and  availability of qualified crews who need to be hired within the same time window. The multi-year proposal by Friends of Cypress (funded by a bequest from the late Halvor Lunden, the well-known local trail builder) to upgrade the very popular Baden-Powell trail on Black Mountain ended up being postponed to 2018, as the time frame to do the scope of work, environmental assessment and find a qualified crew could not be met before the end of the season loomed in October.


-Alex Wallace