The Castlegar Parks and Trails Society is anticipating a busy year at Waldie Island Trail this year. Waldie Island Trail is one of the most popular local trails and links the community of Brilliant to Castlegar via the Robson Bridge.
“We’ve been seeking to reestablish the trail since the boardwalks were destroyed by flooding in 2012” said Lawrence Redfern, speaking for the Society. “It took some time to remove the destroyed materials, and we needed to coordinate our work with the City’s sewage lagoon infrastructure works and raise the required funds before we could put a comprehensive plan in place. High water periods in both 2013 and 2014 have hampered planned work too so we have been working around that.” The original boardwalk materials were assessed by several people and it was determined that the remaining lifespan of the materials coupled with the potential for a repeat flood event pointed to construction of a new boardwalk. “When the next major flood event occurs we want to be able to quickly complete repairs and not be looking at the kind of damage we saw in 2012” said Mark Jennings, Society president.
The Society is once again looking to local schools to help construct trail and complete plantings in the area. The City of Castlegar has provided tread surfacing materials and funding for restoration works both this year and in 2016. “We expect to plant about 100 trees and shrubs this spring and to rebuild about 150m of trail with the support of local schools. The students have made a very significant contribution to local trails the past two years and it’s a real pleasure to have their help on this project” said Redfern. In 2013 and 2014 the Society partnered with local schools on ‘work and learn’ days at Waldie Island and in Pass Creek Park. Students built trail and planted trees and shrubs and enjoyed educational sessions hosted by professional foresters and biologists who volunteer with the Society.
The Society is also grappling with what additional measures it might take to mitigate the negative impacts on local wildlife that the trail has. In recent years they have erected educational and directional signage requesting dogs be leashed and people stay on the trail, and even erected short fences and made strategic plantings to try and encourage compliance. “We will continue to work on public education and encourage users to minimize their impact on local wildlife species” noted Redfern.
Anyone interested in learning more or in helping with this work is encouraged to contact the Society through their Facebook page. The Society will be organizing a volunteer day to help complete the boardwalk and this will be posted on the Facebook page and an email notice will be sent to Society members. “We know this trail is important to the community and we look forward to reopening it later this year,” said Jennings. Society memberships are available at Mallards Source for Sports and Central City Shoes for $10. The Society also publishes a trail guidebook which is available at many locations throughout Castlegar.