Occasionally we receive a note from one of our readers that we want to pass along to everyone following our blog. This one is from Rick Vigrass, of Calgary. We think his concerns are valid, his questions are important, and his suggestions deserve consideration:
Craig & Kathy,
Did some thinking as I slogged up and over the snow yesterday and wondered if you’d consider posting this on your blog:
Over the past 3 summers, I have hiked 6 of the Premier Dayhikes described in the Copeland’s book: Don’t Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies. I haven’t been disappointed with any of them. Yesterday was no exception as I visited Niles Meadow and had an exceptional view of the Daly Glacier. It was a great day. The condition of the trail takes nothing away from the experience which, consistent with all the dayhikes designated by the Copelands as premier, is outstanding. But the fallen trees across the trail gave me pause to reflect on how much we value our trails and how we are looking after them.
Without knowing the details of the Park’s trail maintenance budget and philosophy, the reality is this trail hasn’t been cleared for years. Several of the fallen trees were old. Some are waist high and hikers have been forced to go off trail. I cleared the small ones I could lift by hand but there are still many left. If I would have known and packed my Swede saw and had extra energy, I could have cut out several of the smaller fallen trees.
So what do us serious hikers from Calgary, Canmore and other places do? Do we spend our energy lobbying Parks Canada? Do we adopt-a-trail ourselves and put something back into something we get so much from? I for one would adopt-a-trail and participate in any training required by Parks Canada. Perhaps someone could encourage that by listing trails and adopters on a website so there is some organization and token recognition. Maybe Parks Canada could hold an annual winter supper for the adopters and give each one of them a copy of the Copeland’s latest book or some other suitable token of appreciation. After a few years, maybe the adopter’s name could be posted at the trailhead. What are your ideas and comments on this? How much do we value our trails and what are we willing to do to have them? I would be interested in your response.