Power line project could jeopardize popular Fraser Valley trail
February 19, 2009
To the Editor:
Mountain Parks Electric is proposing to bury the power lines along the St. Louis Creek Road (CR 73) from the Forest boundary south to the Experimental Forest buildings. The proposal would abandon the existing right of way and bury the lines under the county road. This project occurs on public lands, and is open to public comment.
Burying unsightly overhead lines in heavily used recreational areas is a good thing. However, in this case, there is a non-motorized trail in the existing right of way. The Power Line trail has been in use by the public for probably 50 years, as long as the poles have been in place. We have personally been using this trail since 1984 for skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, running and mountain biking.
The trail has a well established single track tread that winds through the existing right of way most of the way from the Forest boundary on CR 73 south to the Spruce Creek/Leland Creek parking area. It provides an easy, level route along the west side of CR 73 and has several connecting spurs, crossing CR 73, to the existing Creekside and Flume trails nearer to St. Louis Creek. At the Forest boundary, to the north, the Power Line trail connects nicely with the Northwest Passage and the Givelo trail, which continues along the CR 73 right of way all the way to Fraser.
Before the Sulphur District and the Fraser Experimental Forest (FEF) closed much of the area west of St. Louis Creek to non-motorized traffic last year by stacking down trees and slash across several popular and well used trails, there were many loops of varying length, connected by the Power Line trail, that could be utilized by non-motorized users. The District has never fully resolved issues with these non-publicized, no public comment trail closures, sweeping them under the carpet by saying they are “non-system” trails of no concern to the District.
The District should not allow destruction of this popular public trail when the MPEI right of way is moved to the CR 73 roadbed. Preservation of the existing tread should be considered when the poles are removed. The trail should be designated a “system trail” and be properly signed and maintained.
Most importantly, by no means should the FEF or the Sulphur District be allowed to close this trail to the public.
The deadline for comments on this proposal is Feb. 25. Please contact Patricia Hesch at the Sulphur District in Granby (887-4136) if you are concerned about losing this trail. The primary e-mail contact is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greg and Hannah Foley