British Columbia

Famed B.C. hiking trail to remain closed for rest of 2021 because of flooding damage

A world renowned British Columbia backcountry hiking trail has been forced to close for the rest of the season because of substantial damage from flooding back in early July. 

'I think it kind of underpins a bigger problem, which is the climate change issue,' one hiker says

A bridge near the Whitehorn Campground on Berg Lake Trail of Mount Robson Provincial Park in northern B.C. was covered by flood water on July 2 amid the heat wave. (Sean Allin)

A world renowned British Columbia backcountry hiking trail has been forced to close for the rest of the season because of substantial damage from flooding back in early July.

Berg Lake Trail stretches for a total of 23 kilometres in northern B.C.'s Mount Robson Provincial Park near the Alberta border.

This year, the trail was open for mere weeks before rapidly melting snow and ice caused flooding during the province's record-breaking heat wave in June. On the Canada Day long weekend, dozens of hikers were evacuated from the park because of the extremely high water levels. 

The park was originally set to open again on July 31, but park officials now say the trail is still unsafe to hike on. 

"Despite the best efforts of B.C. Parks staff, park operators and a team of engineers, we are forced to close the Berg Lake Trail for the remainder of the 2021 camping season due to public safety concerns," Discover Camping, B.C.Parks' booking system, said in an email sent out to reservation holders.  

The trail is so popular that when reservations open in early March, they're usually sold out for the entire summer within hours.

Aerial view of the flooded Robson River taken by Erin Creagh from a helicopter that flew hikers out of Mount Robson Provincial Park in northern B.C. due to flooding. (Submitted by Erin Creagh)

"It was really difficult to get those reservations and we were really thankful that we were able to get it back in the springtime," hiker Amber Turnau told CBC News. 

Turnau was planning on driving up to the provincial park from Metro Vancouver next week with a friend to hike the trail. The pair planned and booked the trip months in advance. 

Before booking, she says she knew the risk of wildfires could potentially affect the hike but didn't foresee an incident like this cancelling their plans. 

Turnau says they have pivoted their agenda for next week and plan to hike locally, but she hopes the closure will shed light on another issue at hand.

"We were quite disappointed. But also, I think it kind of underpins a bigger problem, which is the climate change issue," said.

"It's really impacting tourism and just everyday lives now more than it has been in the past."

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