On Saturday, April 13, 16 weather-resistant volunteers from Bowen Island Trail Society and Bowen Trail Riders Association braved the elements to finally make the Mt. Gardner Summit Trail much easier to navigate. This event was authorized by Recreation Sites & Trails BC with whom Bowen Island Trail Society (BITS) and Bowen Trail Riders Association (BTRA) work co-operatively in joint partnership agreements.
The cold winds, rain and the gravity of our mission crystallized our focus. After a brief orientation just beyond the Hikers Road gate, four 4x4 trucks shuttled us up to the trailhead where we began our work. The foggy conditions transformed the forest into a mystical landscape.
Every year, people come to Bowen from near and far to immerse themselves in our beautiful temperate rainforests. Yet so many hikers have lost their way, especially along this trail, some even calling 9-1-1 to be rescued. This is precisely why it was crucial to install visible and adequate blazes (markers) on trees along this route.
Breaking into pairs, we picked up our supplies: a short ladder and enough nails and 2”x2” orange markers to blaze an average of 13 trees. Using the “leapfrog” approach, we stuck together, sharing a sense of comradery as we moved quickly up the mountain.
Ninety minutes and 80 blazed trees later, we stood on the helipad for some lunch and a peak pic. On the way down a few of us had extra tools and time to extract the old blazes and nails. Back near the trailhead, BTRA volunteers had a fire prepared to warm the chilled blazers before they were shuttled back down to the gate. Check us out on Facebook and Instagram to catch a glimpse of what we accomplished.
Improving navigation on Mt. Gardner’s network of trails is the top priority of BITS, with BTRA in full support. We strive to maximize the visibility of the blazes to help hikers stay on the trail and reach their destination. Last November, we blazed the 5 km stretch of Lower, Mid and Upper Skid Trails and next we plan to tackle the Laura Road and North Summit Loop Trails. Installing approved signage, maps and trailhead kiosks will follow.
We are always looking for more volunteers, so please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to stay informed and perhaps consider joining us in future events to improve Mt. Gardner’s trails. Together we can do much good.