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Washout prompts Oyster River trail improvements

A large section of the Fisherman’s Trail in Oyster River Nature Park was washed out when river levels got too high. - Strathcona Regional District
A large section of the Fisherman’s Trail in Oyster River Nature Park was washed out when river levels got too high.
— image credit: Strathcona Regional District

An Oyster River Nature Park trail, washed out when the river overflowed its banks last year, is now re-built and open to the public.

It has taken more than a year to repair the Fisherman’s Trail which had to be re-routed in parts that were too close to the Oyster River’s edge.

Heavy rain caused river levels to rise and wash over the trail, taking out a 400-metre long chunk of terrain in January of last year.

“The side of the trail on the riverside was completely flooded out and there was excessive damage as a result,” said Peter Woods, parks co-ordinator for the Strathcona Regional District. “The line between the river and the trail was blurred.”

Woods also found dead salmon along the trail, which had been washed up out of the river.

“I observed about five salmon on the trail; they had spawned out,” said Woods, before river levels slowly subsided back to normal a few days later.

But the damage to the popular hiking trail had been done. The trail had to be cordoned off while the river was at the same level as the trail and after the water subsided, certain areas were still inaccessible.

Woods said that in realizing the importance of the trail to the public, the Strathcona Regional District, which maintains the 12-acre Oyster River Nature Park, applied for and received $7,000 in Provincial Emergency Program Funding.

Last week, construction crews finished up smoothing over the new trail surface and filling in areas that were gouged out by the river.

Areas of the trail that suffered excessive amounts of erosion have been re-built higher up from the river.

“Our hope is the elevation will work as a barrier against future floods as well,” said Woods, who noted how much the trail means to people.

“It’s one of our most popular area trails in the Strathcona Regional District. It’s popular because people of all ages can use it.”

The Oyster River Nature Park is located halfway between Campbell River and Courtenay and lies between the Oyster River, Strait of Georgia and the former UBC farmlands.

It is comprised of a number of trails, the most popular the Pub to Pub trail which connects the Fisherman’s Pub and Salmon Point pub.

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