Hikers planning to enjoy the glorious vistas available from the top of Mt. Arrowsmith this summer would be well advised to check the Island Timberlands website before they begin their long, uphill trudge.
That’s because, said Regional District of Nanaimo parks and trails coordinator Joan Michel, they may find their progress impeded by blasting, road building and tree harvesting.
Michel reported the company has begun blasting and road building activity within their private lands that encompass the top half of the Arrowsmith CPR Regional Trail.
The company will be upgrading existing roads in the general area and hikers are being urged to keep clear during weekdays in order to help ensure both their safety and that of workers.
The trail is closed Monday to Friday above the McBey Creek bridge, although the entire trail is open on weekends.
Michel said the closure was first posted last summer, when Island Timberlands began work on creating a new road to the top end of the trail.
The move sparked furious protest when it became apparent the company had plans to build a road across the historic section of the trail, including a crossing of McBey Creek. However, a series of meetings between the company and concerned groups and individuals resulted in a change of plans.
“There were a considerable number of meetings and trail users met with the company and got them to alter their plans a little bit to preserve the historic section of the trail,” she said. “They changed the plans a little bit to preserve the historic section of the trail on the top west side.”
The road building, she added, will not cross the creek.
Michel urged hikers to visit the Island Timberlands website to check the company’s blog, which gives details about the trail closure.
The weekday closure is expected to last until the Labour Day long weekend, although it may extend beyond that time.