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News and events related to the trails on the Sunshine Coast.
Date: January 25th 2013
From: The Sunshine Coast Trails Society
Contact: Caroline Dépatie firstname.lastname@example.org 604.886.5389
Following in the footsteps of many BC communities, the Sunshine Coast Trails Society will be overseeing the process of completing a crown land recreational trail strategy over the next two years. The main goals of the written trail strategy are to create an inventory of crown land recreational trails and, through public consultation, identify main trail networks. The strategy is an important first step in identifying which trails the community sees as important and valuable recreational assets to protect, to manage and, to be considered in future forestry plans.
The first major funder to come forward to support the trail strategy initiative is the Sunshine Coast Community Forest (SCCF) with the amount of $22,000. The SCCF decision to fund the trail strategy initiative falls under its community objective of supporting outdoor recreation economic development. A 2007 study from the Mountain Bike Tourism Association found that trails in the Sea to Sky area generated $10.3 million in tourism economic revenue over a 3 month period (June to September). The SCTS is hoping that additional funders will support the project and applications are underway with the Sunshine Coast Regional District with the grant-in-aid program and the Western Canadian Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
The SCTS is a non-profit society whose membership includes various trail user groups and individual members. The purpose of the society is to facilitate the development and management of a sustainable trail network for the Lower Sunshine Coast for educational, recreational, economic, social and environmental benefit to the public, and to do so collaboratively through community partnerships. A recent initiative completed by the SCTS in affiliation with the District of Sechelt is the completion of the Chapman Creek portion of the Suncoaster Trail. As the plan for the strategy unfolds, the SCTS hopes that all trail users and stakeholders will participate in giving input that will shape the content of the document. Look for ads in the newspapers and announcements in community calendars for scheduled community meetings around the trail strategy. For more information contact email@example.com
Back in November I let you know about the release of the new iPhone app for Sunshine Coast Trails and at that time I was uncertain if and when we'd have one for Android phones. I'm happy to report that the app for Android phone users is now available!
You can find it at Google Play with the same name as the app for iPhones - Trailmapps: Sunshine Coast.
The maps are quite detailed and show contour lines, logging roads, streets, etc. Also, if your phone is capable and you are within range of GPS signals you can find out where you are and your elevation at that spot.
Here's a screen shot of the map for the West Sechelt area:
Almost a year ago I started thinking that it would be cool to have an app for all of the trails and maps on my website. No sooner did I start thinking about this than I was contacted by a fella who lives in Squamish who was interested in creating an iPhone app and wanted to collaborate!
Of course I said yes and shortly thereafter he started work on the app. Our original intent was to have it ready to go for last summer (2012), but life got in the way and for various reasons this didn't happen.
Finally, after a long wait, the iPhone app is available for download from the App Store. You will find it under Trailmapps: Sunshine Coast.
I'm sorry to say that for now at least, it is only for iPhones. If anyone knows someone who can create apps for Androids, please let me know. I'd love to see an Android app as well considering this is the type of phone I have :-)
Mount Hallowell is a strenuous hike in the Pender Harbour area with stunning views from the top as your reward.
Last Saturday a large group of us hiked up to the peak of Mt. Steele in the Tetrahedron Provincial Park. At approximately 5400 feet or 1615 metres this is the highest peak on the Sunshine Coast.
Starting at the second parking lot the trip up is about 3 hours and covers approximately 8 kms. Return trip including some time to rest, eat and enjoy was about 8 hours. The first 4.5 kms is through forest and is easy to moderate difficulty. The final 3.5 kms is more difficult as it climbs quite steeply at times, but you climb through some beautiful alpine.
Mt. Steele cabin is nestled beneath the peak. The cabins in the Tetrahedron (there are four) are available for overnight use and are especially busy in the winter months.
The Tetrahedron is a protected area and includes the Sechelt community watershed. There are special rules in place that prohibit domestic animals in the area. Apparently their feces can carry certain pathogens that once in the ecosystem can cost millions to remove. Although it was hard for me, I left my dogs at home!
The other day I went up to Trout Lake Road to take my dogs for a walk and pick some berries. I took the trail/road that follows along the right of way for the gas line, parallel to the power lines and came across a pile of garbage that included a freezer, fridge and bunch of household stuff.
I knew it was a fairly new dump because it hadn’t been there the week before. I took a look and right on top was a receipt that included a name and address. I took a picture and thought maybe I should post it on my Facebook page for the website.
When I got home I had had second thoughts about posting the photo of the receipt. What if it didn’t belong to the people who dumped the garbage? What if they hired someone to take their stuff to the dump and that person dumped the garbage there? So instead I explained what I had seen, posted the photo of just the garbage and then asked “What would you do?”
The result of that one, fairly insignificant post is astonishing. The posting has gone viral with over 3,400 comments, 309 Shares and has reached over 100,000 people.
To say I was surprised would be an understatement. I was amazed, delighted and flabbergasted. What in the world was going on? Why such a surprising response to something that in the big scheme of things, was pretty small?
Today, I went out on my daily hike with my dogs and really thought about these questions. What follows is my short version of an answer.
I think it really hit a nerve with people because most of us are concerned and worried about what’s happening to the environment. There’s climate change that is a result of global warming. There are major oil spills like the one in Louisiana two years ago that completely devastated the Gulf Coast, sea and wild life. And right now, close to home, is the big debate over whether or not we will have twin oil pipelines from Edmonton, AB to Kitimat, BC.
These are just a very few of the concerns that we have to face and many people feel helpless and maybe hopeless about the future. How can one person keep things from continuing to spiral down? Many of us feel we can’t.
The people who dumped the garbage obviously have a blatant disregard for the natural world. They are selfish and self-serving - basically the characteristics demonstrated by our governments and big corporations with regard to the environment. Although we feel helpless to deal with these big issues and organizations, we do feel that we can do something about this one incident of dumping and by God people want something to be done about it!
Recently, I’ve posted about bears and wolves, but another animal that we share the Coast with is the Roosevelt Elk. The elk are not native to our area, but were transplanted to the Pender Harbour area back in the 1980’s. As the elk have moved down the Coast, the wolves have followed this food source.
Here is an excerpt from the E-Fauna BC website:
Most Roosevelt Elk in British Columbia live on Vancouver Island where they arrived at least 3,000 years ago. They are found over nearly all of the island except at the southern end and along most of the west coast south of the Brooks Peninsula. There are also small pockets on the mainland including the head of Phillips Arm and Loughborough Inlet, around Powell River, and on the Sechelt Peninsula. The animals near Powell River and the Sechelt Peninsula are the result of reintroductions mainly from Vancouver Island. The two introductions to the Powell River area were made in 1994 and 1996, and the three to the Sechelt Peninsula were carried out between 1987 and 1989.
I have come across the elk frequently on my hikes and see their droppings on all of my outings north of Sechelt. Generally the elk will move off as soon as they notice you, but in the fall when they are mating they can be aggressive and charge at you if you get too close. It is always a good idea to keep your dogs from chasing them as they will kick and your dog could be injured. Plus, it is obviously stressful for the elk to be chased by dogs.
We are very fortunate on the Sunshine Coast to have some wonderful swimming lakes. In my opinion, they can’t be beat! Here are some of my old and new favourites.
List of frequently asked questions and answers related to Sunshine Coast trails and maps.
I had a bit of time to kill today, had the dogs with me and I was in Wilson Creek so I decided to hike the new trail from the airport to Chapman Creek. I haven't been in since they did all the work.
The new trail is really nice. Wide and relatively smooth; I think it would actually be wheelchair friendly in dry conditions!
I was in a hurry so I was motoring. I heard a helicopter overhead that sounded really close, but figured maybe something was going on at the airport.
It took me about 20 minutes to get to Chapman Creek and where the new bridge is going in. Well it was my lucky day! I guess the helicopter I heard was actually bringing in the bridge span and placing it. Only thing that could've been better is if I'd got there while they were doing the drop.
Here's the shiny new bridge which is all ready to use.
It is now possible to ride off the ferry in Langdale, ride up to the end of Wharf Road and into the trail at the end. From that point you can make your way all the way to the landfill in Sechelt without touching a paved road! This is really quite exciting.
At the end of my last blog post I promised you an account of my encounter with a wolf. This happened September 2010 when I was riding my bike along the logging road near the Telus Road off the Crowston Forest Service Road.
There was just me and my three dogs. My big guy Nick was in front, then myself on my bike, my little dog Honey a ways behind me and my older girl Misty bringing up the rear – probably about 75 yards behind me.
All of a sudden Nick looked back and stopped and stared hard. This usually means he sees something interesting whether another dog, person or animal of some kind so I thought I’d better stop and look to see what had caught his attention.
Back the way we’d come, at a place where another logging road spur connects with the main road it looked like a big dog was sitting there staring at us. I wondered what the heck a dog was doing all by itself way up in the boonies and then realized that it was an awfully big dog!
It started trotting towards us – and I should mention that my other two dogs were oblivious to it and were still trotting towards me. I realized that this was not a dog, but a wolf. I’d heard they had made their way down the Coast and were now in the area.
I thought to myself, “Oh, oh what am I going to do?” So I shouted “hey!” No effect, he/she just kept on trotting. Now I really thought “oh, oh!” I’ve never heard what you should do when you encounter a wolf. Really not having a clue what else to do I shouted “Go away!” The wolf stopped, had a last look and went away! How lucky was that.
Neither of the other two dogs even realized there’d been any danger. I hopped back on my bike and away we went.
With all of the hiking and biking I do in the back country, it’s no surprise that I’ve had a few encounters with bears and other wildlife (like wolves). Last summer I was hiking up around the Suncoaster Trail near the Malaspina Power Plant in Pender Harbour and had a close call.
Normally I keep my eyes open and look ahead on the trail to see what’s coming, but this time I had my head down looking at the trailing blackberries beside the trail. All of a sudden Nick my big, male dog started barking and went flying by me with my little dog Honey yipping and following close behind him.
Scared the heck out of me and when I looked up there was a big black bear about 100 feet ahead and heading up the bank beside the trail. Unfortunately, because I wasn’t prepared I wasn’t able to call Nick back before he reached the bear. There he was barking ferociously at this big bear and nipping at his back leg. Crazy dog!
I’m yelling “no” and trying to call him back. Honey had enough brains to know that the battle was a no win situation and came right back to me. The bear was getting pretty annoyed and turned and swiped at Nick. Thank goodness he missed. I think Nick suddenly realized that this animal was just a little bit bigger and meaner than him and he came back. Fortunately, the bear decided to keep going and didn’t come back for me!
We let the bear go a bit further up the bank before we slowly and carefully continued on our way.Moral of this story – keep your head up, eyes open and your dogs under control when you’re out in the wilderness and a bell wouldn’t hurt either.
Next time I’ll tell you about my encounter with a wolf!
Carlson Lake is a beautiful lake located approximately 3.2 kms from the Halfmoon Bay Carlson and Carlson Lake FSR junction.
Today I decided to hike up to Carlson Lake again. I’ve been up once before about two months ago when there was still a couple feet of snow and the lake was frozen and covered with snow.
I hiked up the same direction as last time – parked at the Y junction about 5 kms up from the highway. The road is pretty good to this point and I could probably go a little further, but I’m comfortable with this location and I don’t have 4-wheel drive.
About 1/3 km from the car there is a road/trail that cuts off the main road to the right. You follow along this way for about 2 kms until you reach a road that cuts in on the left and heads up. This is a very rough and rocky route and I think would even be difficult for a 4-wheel drive vehicle. It’s about .8 km to the Lake.
On the way up, about .2 km before you reach the lake, there is another road that branches off to the left. This is the route I took back out. I had run into several young guys at the lake (looked like they’d had quite a party!) and they told me I could get back to the Halfmoon Carlson FSR that way as well, but it would be several kilometres. I decided to give it a go and it turned out it was probably only about 5 kms total back to my car.
Unfortunately, the last few kilometres down the logging road was through a new clear-cut. Pretty devastated area, but it did open up some views out to the strait and across to Vancouver Island.
Interestingly, the Google Earth map above doesn't show the logged areas. I guess they haven't updated their image for awhile. They've been logging there since last year around this time.
Next time I think I'll take my bike up and do the longer route that does a wide circle around the lake!
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