Categories: HomeLocal NewsNews

Juan de Fuca Marine Trail re-opens after lengthy repairs

The Juan de Fuca Marine Trail has been fully reopened by the B.C. Environment Ministry following a five-month-long closure for maintenance that left tourist operators fuming.

A 26-kilometre section of the trail between Mystic Beach and Sombrio Beach has been closed since February.

“Tourism is a big part of our economy in Port Renfrew and a closure like this can have some very serious effects on our economy,” said Ryan Chamberlain, the president of the Sooke to Port Renfrew Tourist Association.

“We are already suffering because of (federal) government restrictions on the sport fishing businesses in Port Renfrew, and this has been just another factor that hurt our efforts to attract tourists.”

The trail was closed when ministry officials said high level of use on the pathways and damage done by winter storms had combined to make sections of it unsafe.

Plans had the trail reopening at the end of April, but those plans went by the wayside when repairs were delayed by inclement weather and a particularly troubling piece of the trail south of Sombrio Beach.

A stair system, in the 21-kilometre section of the 47-kilometre trail, needed replacing, but no stable footing existed at the location to rebuild the stairway. Instead, a specially engineered rock-anchored boardwalk and stairs was designed and installed.

As there was no detour around that section of the trail, it was closed.

“It seems the universe just has it out for Port Renfrew,” said Jon Cash, the co-owner of Soule Creek Lodge in Port Renfrew at the time.

He said at least half of his customers come specifically to hike the trail and described the closure as “just another hit” to the tourist industry.

The ministry said in addition to the work done at Sombrio Beach, there were also improvements made to 24 other locations along the trail.

The work was the second phase of a three-phase project to upgrade the popular trail system and upgrade the infrastructure along the trail route.

RELATED: Port Renfrew left in the cold

The third phase of the improvement project is scheduled to begin next spring, although Environment Ministry officials would not comment on whether the third phase would necessitate any future trail closures.

Dan Hagar, the president of the Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce, views the 2019 experience as a teachable moment for everyone.

“It’s marvellous that the trail is open again, but it has shown that there has to be a direct line of communication between the ministry and the Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce,” Hagar said.

“This last experience was very upsetting, but we can all learn from our mistakes. I’m hoping that going forward the communication will be much better. If we know about closures, we can talk to our members and at least keep them informed.”



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Tim Collins

Share
Published by
Tim Collins

Recent Posts

  • Home
  • Local News
  • News

Canadians may experience EpiPen shortage, says Health Canada

The EpiPen Jr is not affected by this shortage

26 mins ago
  • Community
  • Home2

HISTORY: How a lighthouse came to Sooke

Elida Peers | Contributed

26 mins ago
  • Home2
  • News

Port Hardy RCMP cleared in arrest that left man with broken ribs, punctured lung: IIO

The IIO noted the matter will not be referred to crown counsel for consideration of charges.

32 mins ago
  • Home2
  • Letters
  • Opinion

LETTER: We owe nothing to developers

Reader says no wisdom at all in mall expansion

56 mins ago
  • Life
  • Trending Now
  • Video

Fashion Fridays: 5 casual summer dress styles

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

1 hour ago
  • Home
  • Local News
  • News

New home in Saanich for adults with disabilities moves closer to fruition

Anonymous donor steps up with $1 million donation during fundraising campaign

2 hours ago