Volunteers completed a multi-stage trail building project at Hakai Conservancy last summer.

BC Parks’ staff and volunteers complete trail-building project at Hakai

BC Parks’ staff and volunteers complete trail-building project at Hakai

For the past three years, BC Parks, in collaboration with the Hakai Beach Institute and the Hakai Luxvbalis Collaborative Management Board, has undertaken a facility improvement project to upgrade the existing trail systems on Calvert Island.

These trails are nestled within the magnificent Hakai Luxvbalis Conservancy, which is the province’s largest marine protected area. The area boasts scenic coastlines and hosts a wide variety of plants, mammals, amphibians and some of the most diverse marine life found on the planet!

These trail improvements would not have been possible without outstanding local support and the hard-working volunteers that dedicate their time each year.

This year, BC Parks and the Hakai Institute set a record for number of volunteers present: 14 ambitious volunteers accompanied by four BC Parks Rangers. The courageous volunteers are: Louella Baker, Frances Brown, John Schmitt and Ken Roxburgh  from Quardra Island; John and Linda Baldwin from Vancouver; Laura Goodall from England; and Jeff and Lindsay Gericke, Katie and Dennis Hayhurst and Banchi Hanuse from Bella Coola. They provided crucial help with helicopter lifts, lumber packing and the construction of a variety of formidable structures.

The Nuxalk Guardians, John Sampson and Ernie Tallio, were a critical part of this volunteer team  – they not only provided transportation and supplies for the volunteers, but also helped immensely with construction.

The ‘backwoods engineering’ of several structures on the trails consisted of elevated boardwalks, timber bridges, a park bench and seven magnificent flights of stairs! These upgrades were designed to make the trails more accessible for a wider range of age groups and reduce damage to the sensitive and unique ecosystems that are represented in the area.

The boardwalks, also referred to as “toad underpasses” by one of the more comedic volunteers, are raised slightly off the ground to allow for natural regeneration of vegetation underneath the planks and to minimize trail compaction and trail braiding.

Whether visitors want to hike up to the Lookout trail for a commanding view of the coastal scenery and the famous Hakai Pass, surf the remote coastline of B.C., or walk the white sand beaches along the North and Seven Beach trails, there is something for everyone!

BC Parks would again like to thank the Hakai Beach Institute, the Heiltsuk Nation, the Nuxalk Guardians and the 28 volunteers who have made this trail-building project a great success over the past three years.

The incredible contributions of volunteers can be seen in ways large and small in parks and protected areas around the province. These dedicated and passionate advocates for our wilderness help BC Parks build and maintain trails, restore facilities, undertake conservation research and so much more.

In 2012 BC Parks developed the BC Parks Volunteer Strategy to better support volunteers in our provincial parks.  The strategy was developed to build on past success and to address the feedback provided by hundreds of volunteers during a public engagement process in early 2012 which included 11 community workshops and an online survey. Among the many improvements in the strategy is the development of an online community allowing volunteers to share their stories, learn about opportunities and find helpful tips.

Learn more about the BC Parks Volunteer Community and the many ways volunteers enhance the BC Parks experience at www.bcparksvolunteers.ca.

Please also visit the BC Parks website at www.bcparks.ca and the Hakai Beach Institute website at www.hakai.org to find out more information about the area or contact the local BC Parks Supervisor, Steven Hodgson, at 250-982-2701 ext.2223.