Our ranks are growing and we couldn’t be more pleased to welcome the Chilliwack Park Society (CPS) to the FMCBC. Earlier this month, they became our 35th member club, adding to our membership of more than 5,000 hikers, climbers, trail runners, snowshoers and skiers from across British Columbia. By way of introduction, we thought’d we’d share with you a bit more about their organization and they great work they’re doing in the Fraser Valley.
Established in 2014 to advocate for green space and outdoor activity in and around Chilliwack, the CPS has been incredibly active both lobbying for parks and building trails. Their main project this year has been the Chilliwack Community Forest, a 130 acre parcel of mature forest in Chilliwack’s Eastern Hillsides. According to society president Marc Greidanus, “We were able to convince the City to let us turn it into a wilderness park for hiking, running and biking.” The park borders crown land and eventually the CPS plans to provide trail access to the Cheam Range and North Cascades.
Community and high school volunteer crews have already made a great deal of progress building trails in the park — as the photos on their Facebook page attest. A two-kilometre beginner loop was finished in the summer, and trail days have continued this fall and winter, with crews working on several moderate trail loops, complete with interpretive signage and resting benches at scenic view points.
Additionally this year, CPS volunteers worked alongside a professional trail building crew to restore 14 of the most used trails in the Chilliwack River Valley. More than 70 kilometres of trails were revitalized during that project, with volunteers clearing overgrown sections, replacing worn-out foot bridges, and building stone stairs to prevent erosion. Funding for the initiative came from the National Trails Coalition, through a grant submitted by the FMCBC and other partners.
It seems that with the help of the CPS, Chilliwack is coming into its own. “Chilliwack is an often underrated mountain town,” says Marc. “It has several forested mountains and is surrounded by rocky peaks, gorgeous lakes and multiple rivers. It’s our goal to help Chilliwack become the outdoor destination it has the potential to be.”