Forested photogallery documents efforts of North Shore trail builders

There's a new gallery opening on Vancouver's North Shore, but anyone looking to see the exhibit is going to need a pair of hiking shoes or a mountain bike.

Evidence of Trail Fairies is being held on the trails it documents.

The exhibit Evidence of Trail Fairies, documents the efforts of two volunteer trail builders on Vancouver's North Shore. (Euan Forrester)

There's a new gallery opening on Vancouver's North Shore, but anyone looking to see the exhibit is going to need a pair of hiking shoes or a mountain bike to get there.

That's because the exhibit — Evidence of Trail Fairies— is being held on the trails it documents.

Local photographer and rider Euan Forrester shot the photographs in the exhibit over a nine-month period.

The 20 photographs are posted along the trails, which are open to both hikers and bikers, but bikers are restricted to climbing up the trails only. (Euan Forrester)

He then had the best shots mounted on weatherproof boards and then mounted them on trees along the trails.

The 20 large photographs chronicle the tireless and often muddy efforts of two volunteer trail builders, Martin Newman and Penny Deck.

"I did this to try and help people become more aware of the work that goes into the extensive network of trails we have in Vancouver," said Euan.

The exhibit chronicles the nine months of volunteer work mountain bikers Martin Newman and Penny Deck put into building the mixed-use trail. (Euan Forrester)

"I wanted to put a human face on the many volunteers who put thousands of hours into the trails that many of us take for granted."

"In particular, I wanted to put a friendly face on mountain bikers and mountain bike trail building. There is a perception that there is a lot of conflict between bikers and hikers and runners on the trails," he said.

"But that just isn't the case. It's just a fraction of cases. I wanted to create an opportunity to talk about the 99.999 per cent of interactions that are great."

Forrester estimates he spent over 30 days shooting and hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars preparing the prints. (Euan Forrester)

If you want to see the exhibit, it's on the Penny Lane and Good Sir Martin trails on Mount Seymour.

Both trails are open to bikers, hikers and runners, but bikers are restricted to heading uphill only.

Forrester says the quickest access for walkers is from the Baden Powell trail on Mount Seymour. Check the trail signs in the parking lot for details and hike in from there.

The trails are popular with runners and hikers because the carefully made switchbacks make them easy to descend. (Euan Forrester)

He estimates he spent more than 30 days documenting the work of the two volunteer trail builders and then hundreds of hours and a few thousand dollars preparing the prints.

Despite the effort and expense, he's taken few precautions to protect the prints against theft or vandalism and is hopeful they will still be there when the exhibit is scheduled to end in September.

"I wanted to show a kind of trusting thing, hoping that I'll get that trusting thing back," he said.

After that there, he says, there is talk of holding an indoor show and maybe an auction to raise money for future trail building projects.

The best way to reach the exhibit is to head to the Baden Powell Trail parking lot on Mount Seymour and hike into the Good Sir Martin and Penny Lane trails. (Euan Forrester)

About the Author

Mike Laanela

Mike Laanela is an online journalist with CBC News in Vancouver.