The Fraser Valley Regional District has joined local residents' efforts to preserve the Dewdney Grind, a popular trail in Mission, B.C., from the threat of logging.
Residents of Dewdney built the unofficial trail on Crown land almost a decade ago. Since then, it's become a popular place for avid hikers and families eager to take in the view overlooking the Fraser Valley.
But Tamihi Logging Ltd., which is owned and operated by the Dorman Group of Companies, has logging rights to the area where the trail is located.
That's raised concerns with Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz, who is also chair of the Fraser Valley Regional District's board of directors.
"It's really important to the residents, not only of Dewdney, but it's important to people throughout the Fraser Valley. And it's my understanding that people come from all over the world to hike the Dewdney Grind," says Gaetz.
The Fraser Valley Regional District recently sent a letter to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations asking the province to designate the area a recreational site.
The designation would not ban any logging, but would require the logging company to make efforts to either preserve the trail or relocate it.
Ministry officials confirmed they are considering the proposal.
"Ministry staff have had discussions with Fraser Valley Regional District staff in the past and are open to further discussions. There are many trails of interest in the Fraser Valley," wrote Ministry of Forests communications director Vivian Thomas.
Trail has special significance for some
Fred von Hardenberg maintains the trail and hopes to see it preserved because it has special significance for his family.
He says there is a cabin the people of Dewdney dedicated to his youngest brother Ben, who died in a helicopter crash while fighting forest fires near Bonaparte Lake and Barriere, B.C., in 2003.
"There's a plaque, and a picture, and a short story of his life to keep the memory of him alive in our community as a fallen firefighter and a pilot," says von Hardenberg.
The trail can be accessed off Norrish Creek Forest Service Road east of Mission.
There are two routes to the summit, a steep and challenging south route and a more family friendly northern route that crosses a stream. It's an estimated two-hour trip round trip to hike to a cabin and a four- to six-hour round trip to the peak.