The first section of the Howe Sound Crest Trail has now neared completion, and we did get a small crew and machinery as far the new bridges that we installed at Strachan Meadows in order to reinforce them with rock just before the snow fell in November. In fact we were within a few hours of having the machinery stuck as there had been several machinery and weather delays in what is nowadays a 3 or 4 month construction season at 1,000 metres due to the “extended” yearly snowpack which lasted past July 16th in 2011, and as a result the crew kept going to the bitter end to reach the bridges and reinforce them as the snow was starting for the winter. I was concerned to the point of getting on the phone to BC Parks when the weather was turning to snow, in order to get the crew out of there. We are still hopeful of getting matching funds from Victoria to complete the project to the West Lion over the next several years, and then proceeding beyond that to the more exposed trail sections (that I showed at the last AGM) where the need for funding will be less, although these sections clearly are still in need of work, safety updates, and signage. As noted in our other reports, we raised a total of $450,000 from VANOC and NTC with considerable assistance of Friends of Cypress and ORC, but Government now needs to chip in their funds to work on the high elevation sections to the West Lion, as it is their trail and the public uses it a lot. There are some land tenure complications due to this trail repeatedly detouring into the Capilano Watershed, and while these are not of day-to-day concern as long as hikers keep going along – as they have for decades; these inadvertent ‘trespasses’ will have to be formally acknowledged if a trail crew sponsored by BC Parks and FMC is to work on Metro Vancouver [GVWD] land, and so a presentation to the Metro Board by myself and BC Parks will have to be made to formally request the necessary permissions.
In the interim I am applying for one of the small Park Enhancement Fund [PEF] grants to keep the Howe Sound Crest project going along, and again this isn’t direct government funding, it’s money that was donated or fundraised and now is held in trust by Victoria.