About one-quarter of the Mount Currie hiking trail should be complete before winter if all goes according to plan, say officials with the Pemberton Valley Trails Association (PVTA).
PVTA director Chris Allen said the province granted the necessary approvals for the trail earlier in September and that the group was planning to begin construction on the trail this week.
“We won’t get it all done this fall, but we’re hoping to (finish) about the first two kilometres,” said Allen, who said work will resume in the spring as soon as weather allows. “It’s possible that we could have it done for the summer of 2013.
“The route’s been flagged and approved and everything, so it’s mostly just a matter of us cutting it in.”
The finished product will be an eight-kilometre trail open for hiking only, with a trailhead near the Green River Motocross Park. The trail will lead hikers up above the treeline with an elevation gain of about 4,000 feet, from where further access to the alpine will be available.
Allen said the trail will target intermediate to advanced hikers and take about four to five hours to walk in one direction, making day trips possible.
“It’s going to be anywhere from two to three feet wide and it can be a steep, rough trail,” said Allen. “It will take you up… to a view overlooking the whole Pemberton Valley. From there, if you want to get to the peak, you’ll have to camp overnight.”
The PVTA has also established a contingency fund to ensure there will be a water crossing available to reach the trailhead in the future. A bridge owned by B.C. Timber Sales is currently the only way to cross Green River, but there’s no indication that the bridge will be in place long term.
“We’re trying to set aside about 10 per cent of the total budget,” said Allen. “Once the amenity is there, and not just cutblocks and forest that has been logged, there’s a case to be made to keep that bridge there. But… if the bridge gets pulled, we’ve got (money) aside to basically build a footbridge across there.”
Estimates from earlier this year pegged the cost of trail construction at $60,000. Counting contributions from both the Pemberton Valley Utilities and Services Committee and Mountain Equipment Co-op, about half the funds had been raised by May of this year.
The PVTA will be scheduling trail-building days in the fall and spring, with the hope being that volunteer labour can help bring the trail to fruition. Allen said that anybody with extra time during weekdays that are willing to help can contact trail-building organizer John Chilton at 604-905-9754 for more information.