Work is expected to begin on the proposed Mount Currie hiking trail this summer as the Pemberton Valley Trails Association (PVTA) has now secured half of the funding necessary to bring the project to completion.
PVTA officials learned last Thursday (May 10) that its application for $10,000 from Mountain Equipment Co-op’s (MEC) Community Contributions fund was approved. The bid was one of 31 selected from a pool of nearly 150 applicants.
The announcement of funding from MEC followed a commitment from the Pemberton Valley Utilities and Services Committee to provide $20,000 in matching funding to help bring the trail to fruition. PVTA officials estimate that it will cost approximately $60,000 to make the project a reality.
“This is great news,” PVTA director Chris Allen said Tuesday (May 15) of the MEC grant. “With the funding that we have already, we’ll definitely get started as soon as we have the (necessary approvals).”
PVTA officials marked out a route for the trail in the fall before approaching potential funding partners. The planned route would see the trailhead placed near the Green River Motocross Park, with the trail leading up into the alpine area of Mount Currie with access to the summit if desired.
However, there are more hurdles to clear than just fundraising before work on the trail can begin, including obtaining permission from the Lil’wat Nation as well as from the provincial Ministry of Forests (MOF).
Allen said the PVTA has so far received positive feedback from officials in Mount Currie about the project, while its proposal with the MOF appears to be moving along nicely.
“In order to build a new trail, we have to apply to the Ministry of Forests and basically show them what the trail is going to look like,” explained Allen. “As of a couple days ago, we’ve heard that (our application) has been moved up the list and they’re giving it priority because they realize it’s a timely matter and we’re hoping to get this done by the end of the year.”
There is also some uncertainty around use of the MOF bridge spanning the Green River near the proposed trailhead, as some reports indicate that the bridge is only in place temporarily until the ministry no longer needs it.
However, Allen said previous correspondence with the MOF made it seem as though the bridge will be in place for at least the foreseeable future.
“When we first figured out the route up there, we contacted the Ministry of Forests and they said it would be there for a while,” said Allen. “But we’ve heard (reports to the contrary) as well, so we’re investigating that.”
The PVTA also has an application in with the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation to fund the project though Allen said he has not heard recently what the status is of that application. Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy, who previously supported funding the project as a PVUS board member and has expressed his excitement for the trail in the past, said expects that foundation to get behind the request.
“I’d be surprised if the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation doesn’t feel that it’s a worthwhile endeavour,” said Sturdy. “It would segue nicely into the whole Garibaldi to Pemberton traverse.”
Sturdy said PVTA officials have been invited to the next PVUS meeting to update board members on the project.
The PVTA is also holding its annual fundraiser on June 23, at which Allen said the group hopes to generate further funding for the project.