Plans to log parts of the historical Old Arrowsmith CPR Trail to build a logging road has the local Wilderness Committee scrambling to get as many people as they can to see why the area needs to be protected.
Annette Tanner said they are planning another hike into the area tomorrow (Sept. 10) so people can see for themselves what lies in store for the magnificent Cathedral Grove forest along and across the famous trail.
Located primarily on private managed forest land owned by Island Timberlands and Timber West, the popular trail is used regularly by hikers and there are fears it may be destroyed by future road construction. Island Timberlands doesn’t have an official start date, but the company is planning road work that would start this fall and continue for a few years creating roads off previously existing roads to provide access to future harvesting sites.
Tanner said everywhere she goes she hears people reacting with outrage to the blasting for roads for the proposed logging of the sacred watershed and trail.
“There is disbelief about what could be happening. It has touched a nerve in the community,” Tanner said.
The trail begins across the highway from Cameron Lake and heads up Mount Arrowsmith. Officially created by the CPR as an amenity for their guests staying at the Cameron Lake Chalet in 1911 the trail is steeped in history and is likely the oldest intact footpath on Vancouver Island.
Tanner, the Wilderness Committee’s Mid Island spokesperson said logging in the area is not only a threat to two watersheds, but to eco-tourism in the area as well.
“We need assistance from all levels of government to ensure protection of the water resources on the East side of Vancouver Island.”
Over 40 people hiked the trail a few weekends ago and Tanner said they are conducting another guided tour of the site so even more people can see what is at stake.
To join the hike this weekend people are asked to meet at 10 a.m., Saturday, September 10 at the Whiskey Creek store on Highway 4 (going to Port Alberni).