Metlakatla Wilderness Trail. Metlakatla

Metlakatla Wilderness Trail officially opened on Friday

The long-awaited Metlakatla Wilderness Trail has its official opening ceremony on Friday and will be ready for the public in three weeks.



The Metlakatla Wilderness Trail was given a grand opening ceremony in Metlakatla Village last Friday.

The ceremony was held at the trailhead located at the north end of the village and was attended by representatives of many organizations and businesses. Many were from organizations involved in funding the construction of the trail, such as Ridley Terminals Inc, Metlakatla development Corporation, the Coast Sustainability Trust, BC Construction Association and Community Futures.

Elders from the village blessed the trail after a short prayer by laying cedar branches at the beginning of the new trail. They then cut a ribbon made of woven cedar to officially open it.

The trail has been a project three years in the making, and cost about $800,000 to build, much of that contributed by a couple different organizations.

The trail is about 10 kilometers and runs through the forest up the west coast of the Tsimshian Peninsula. After the ceremony was over, the representatives were given the first guided tour of the trail, which the Metlakatla Band and BC Tourism hope will the first of many.

The trail weaves through the incredibly tall, mostly branchless trees that make up the forest around the village. The winding trail has literally been cut through the ancient forest and follows the coastline and crosses inlets, streams, marshes with the use of boardwalks and three metal suspension bridges. Culturally modified cedar trees can be seen along the trail, some of them very new and some very old.

The trail also includes two lookout towers connected together by a suspended walkway for people to climb up and take in the coastal scenery. The man who designed them and the bridges, John Kelston, has also designed walkways used in Nigerian mangrove swamps – they apparently have a lot of snakes.

The trail also contains access to remote sandy beaches, has a picnic area and even a campsite that has been reviewed by an ecologist and avid camper the band invited to come and try it out, then give them feedback

It took a crew of thirteen people a year to build the Metlakatla Wilderness Trail. During that year they had to deal with everything from wildlife stealing their lunches to raising towers and suspension bridges during the middle of winter. The entire project has been completely accident free.

The trail they made is only wide enough for people to walk along single file but is fairly flat and well put together. But according to Cory Stephens from the Metlakatla Band who has been overseeing the project, the trail will cost about $50,000 a year to maintain which will likely mean year-round jobs for two village residents.

They plan to come up with that money by selling tickets and season passes at a kiosk here in Prince Rupert in the near future. The pricing structure of this hasn’t been worked out yet, but the hope is that the trail will become a popular day-trip for both residents and tourists. The trail is just long enough that someone could come to Metlakatla on the 8:00 am ferry from Prince Rupert and finish it in time to catch the 4:00 pm ferry back.

The trail will be open for the public in about three weeks, and the band is hoping to have guided tours available and information about the ecology and Metlakatla culture along the trail (that’s still in the works.)

The long-term vision for the trail is that it might be expanded so that it ran along the coast all the way north to Port Simpson, 25 kilometers away.  This would make the trail a bigger tourist attraction and establish walking access between the two communities.

 

 

Just Posted

Prince Rupert’s first adaptive hiking program launched

Kaien Coastal Riders have secured a TrailRider to make the North Coast outdoors more accessible

MVP of the Week: Growing into his game

Xander Gerritsen brings a big game to the ice in Prince Rupert

Salmon fishery top of mind as Cullen returns to Parliament

Skeena Bulkley Valley MP says he’ll push for earliest release of DFO plan

Fourth weekly marine service added to Port of Prince Rupert

THE Alliance and its partners have made Prince Rupert its first port of call this spring

North Coast teachers learn the language of technology

School District 52 teachers learned about circuits, Microbits and JavaScripts on April 20

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C. student makes short-list for autism advocacy award

Brody Butts honoured for his role as a mentor and self-advocate

Austin Powers ‘Mini-Me’, Verne Troyer, dies at 49

Facebook page confirmed his death Saturday afternoon

Alberta man dead after snowmobile collision on B.C. mountain

The incident occurred on Boulder Mountain Friday morning

B.C. parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

NAFTA: Talks continue through weekend in scramble to get a deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called negotiations ‘perpetual’

Pulp mill fined $900,000 for leaking effluent into B.C. lake

Mackenzie Pulp Mill pleaded guilty to depositing deleterious substance into water frequented by fish

Most Read