Report from Natasha Suvorova, North Shore Hikers
The North Shore Hikers Society is the largest paid membership hiking organization in B.C., with approximately 450 members. We schedule four to six hiking trips every week.
Bowen Island is a favourite hiking destination, and we usually organize four to six trips there each year. In 2010, a bike trip was also held on the island. Many of our members frequently hike there on their own, and know its extensive trail network.
We have assumed responsibility for clearing trails on Bowen Island, and generally one trip every two years is organized for this purpose. The latest trail clearing trip, or “hike and snip”, was held on July 1st, 2011, when eleven of our members arrived and spent the whole day on the island.
Our trip to Bowen Island
On July 1st, our group was led by Dennis Berryman and Natasha Suvorova. Dennis (a former president of the Society), who has been working on the Bowen Island trails for the past 20 years, led the hike. Natasha, the Society's trail clearing co-ordinator, led the snipping.
Two other noteworthy individuals on July 1st were Kate Hill and Art Alexander, both of whom also know the trails very well, and have led hiking groups to the island. In the case of Art, aged 79, the added bonus is that he has built trails together with Halvor Lunden (now deceased), who was responsible for building some of the trails on Bowen Island, as well as trails on the North Shore and in the Buntzen Lake area. Art is also a former trail clearing co-ordinator for the Club.
We mostly used loppers and saws (most owned by the NSH, although some members also brought their own tools, with gardening gloves and eye protection.
Our route was via Killarney Lake, up Hikers Road to the trailhead, and on entering the Skid Trail, hiking in a clockwise loop. We hiked up to the south summit by the more direct route (not the loop), and then to the north summit for lunch. We descended by the Keats Island lookout rock and Dirt Road, closing the loop.
For the most part we used loppers, with more need for the saw coming down the north Mt. Gardner Trail. We left about a dozen deadfall trees, some of which we'll remove by handsaw on our next trip. A few we will have to leave in the hope that someone will come by with a chainsaw. Also on the next trip we’ll snip the longer loop to the two summits. We noted the new large wooden signboards installed at junctions in the past couple of years; also the new posts at some of the junctions bearing reference numbers. We assume that these numbers will eventually be added to a map of the island at some future date.
We noticed some trail degradation from use by cyclists. While the trail conditions in many places are very good, some sections appear to require improvements such as building drainage bars, or re-building sections of trail that have slid down the slope. Since the North Shore Hikers Society is primarily a hiking organization, we can only do light trail clearing work: we do not build or rebuild trails, and cannot perform large structural improvements to existing trails (our members are not trained, equipped, or insured to perform this kind of work). We hope that Bowen Island residents will continue to enjoy the trail and the large variety of scenery that can be viewed from it.
Contact Natasha Suvorova (778.327.9232 or firstname.lastname@example.org).