The Metlakatla Wilderness Trail, which opened earlier this summer, is already finding success when it comes to attracting people to the unique coastal hiking experience.
“We are excited to announce the Metlakatla Wilderness Trail has been open for approximately 1.5 months and has attracted nearly 500 visitors. We believe this to be a very positive indication of the future potential of the Wilderness Trail,” said spokesperson Cory Stephens, noting that where the visitors have been coming from is quite varied.
“Although the trail has hosted many international visitors, we are particularly pleased about the considerable inflow of visitors from within our region from as far as Burns Lake and Houston. We have also had a great number of visitors from Smithers, BC, likely as a result of John Kelson, canopy viewpoint tower and suspension bridge designer and builder, residing in Smithers.”
As well as hosting individuals, the trail has been used by a number of groups on the north coast, most recently the management and administration team from the Prince Rupert School District as part of a planning workshop held in Metlakatla prior to the start of school.
“What a fantastic experience we had on the Metlakatla Wilderness Trail. This is an incredible opportunity to learn about the history of our area and, in particular, about the Coastal Ts’msyen people. This remarkable trail, complete with suspension bridges and observation towers, will be of great benefit to our students for many years to come. We are excited about the educational possibilities that this trail provides for our school district,” said Lynn Hauptman, Superintendent of School District 52.
“It was exciting to hear conversations amongst the Principals about the valuable learning opportunity the new Metlakatla Wilderness Trail offers and how students in our district can benefit from learning about Metlakatla history, culture and connectivity between First Nations and the land,” added Debbie Leighton-Stephens, District Principal, Aboriginal Education, School District 52.
With the summer season winding down, the trail will be closing at the end of the September, but before then some of the students who returned to school on September 4 will get a taste of what the trail has to offer. Following the visit from the administrators five classes have booked tours of the trail, and to create more awareness of the trail the Metlakatla Development Corporation is offering free admission for the classes.