It took two years and the combined efforts of half-a-dozen stakeholders, but the upgrades to the Ancient Cedars Recreation Area in the Soo Valley are, at last, complete.
The work involved the Rotary Club, Alpine Club of Canada, Whistler Blackcomb Habitat Improvement Team, the Whistler Blackcomb Environmental Fund, Recreation Sites and Trails BC and The Adventure Group, with the Cheakamus Community Forest managing the project. Groups contributed time and money, with the Whistler Blackcomb Environmental Fund contributing $15,000 to get the project started, and Recreation Sites and Trails BC contributing $28,000 for some much-needed road improvements, upgrades to the parking lot, an outhouse and signage for the area, as well as trail improvements.
"I am profoundly grateful of the community-wide effort in restoring the Ancient Cedars Trail," said Arthur DeJong, manager of mountain planning and environmental resources for Whistler Blackcomb. DeJong also oversees the local Habitat Improvement Team, which worked on the interpretive hiking trail.
"This is one of Whistler's most special protected places in nature and is inspirational to all who wander beneath the towering presence of these ancient trees," he said.
The grand opening will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 1 p.m. with Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden cutting the ribbon at the trailhead, which is located up the Cougar Mountain Road just north of Emerald Estates. Following that there will be a hike to the cedar grove about 2.5km up the trail.
The Ancient Cedars Recreation Area was established in the 1990s to protect a large stand of ancient red cedar trees, estimated to be between 800 to 1,000 years old. However, despite the popularity of the area, the hiking trail and access road fell into disrepair over the years.