The Howe Sound Crest trail upgrade has been several years in the planning and preparation stage, but the delays had a silver lining as this summer with the project still not started we were able to apply for federal trails funding through the National Trails Coalition and Outdoor Recreation Council, with assistance from Jeremy McCall. Despite a tight timeline and stringent criteria, Jodi Appleton helped the FMCBC Trails Committee put together a successful application and this has added $150,000 to the $300,000 in Cypress Legacy Funding provided for this trail project by VANOC. This was the second largest NTC grant awarded in BC for non-motorized projects.
As a result, the contract for the first section of the trail in Cypress Bowl went to bid in August 2009 and by early October significant progress had been made. This included blasting out 20 tonnes of a rock outcrop sitting just above an eroded section of the trail: this would have remained a serious and unpredictable hazard for hikers had it had been left in place – with water running under it.
The late start date meant that by the end of the 2009 construction season the contractor was working with three crews under difficult conditions. When the NTC representatives, Terry Norman and Terje Vold, visited the site on September 29th they experienced wet snow and heavy rain. Work will continue in 2010 and by next summer signage will be up and a new trail information kiosk will be constructed in a central location by the new daylodge.
In March 2010, new signage was helicoptered to St. Marks Summit and Unnecessary Mountain and secured for installation in August. Several loads of bridge materials were longlined into Strachan Meadows for assembly in summer of 2010.