Campbell River has a growing number of trail stewards thanks to a recent Greenways Land Trust workshop.
The group’s latest workshop, with a focus on trail maintenance, was held in the Beaver Lodge Lands on Feb. 29.
More than two dozen people came to learn from experienced trail builder Tom Porsborg, who has been building trails in B.C. for about 30 years.
“Over that time, you just gain experience and knowledge on how to do things efficiently and easy,” he said. “I help come out and train more people.”
Each session he teaches, there’s more people equipped with the knowledge to build and maintain trails legally, safely and sustainably.
On Saturday morning, the group was working on sections of the Beaver Pond Loop, in the north-east corner of Beaver Lodge Lands. Their focus was on closing a few unauthorized trails that sprouted up as well as alleviating the puddles of water that pool on the trail when it rains.
“We’re working on draining the trail so it’s nice and dry, even when it rains,” he said.
All the tools and snacks were provided. The main exchange was knowledge for elbow grease as volunteers put what they learned to the test.
“Our goal is to build trails that are sustainable, and are able to be used by a wide user group,” said Porsborg. “We’re looking to build trails that’ll be here for generations.”
A large piece of the sustainable puzzle means making sure that the trail is authorized.
“If a trail is built illegally or built on private land without permission, it’s not going to last,” he said. “It’s also against the law.”
Greenways has a partnership agreement to look after the Beaver Lodge Forest Lands trails, while River City Cycle Club has partnership agreements to oversee trails in the Snowden Demonstration Forest and at Elk Falls.
It takes a village to maintain trail systems, and if you’re interested in helping out, check out a workshop with Greenways or River City Cycle Club rather than forging your own path.
“People can get really upset if you build a trail somewhere that it wasn’t appropriate for,” said Porsborg. “It is technically against the law and you could be charged. The best way is to get involved with Greenways or get involved with the River City Cycle Club.”
Greenways hasn’t announced another trail maintenance workshop, but it will be holding its Streamkeepers Course March 6-8.