The Cowichan Lake Trail Blazers Society is quickly becoming the group to join.
Formed in 2017, the group has slowly but surely been working to enhance the greater Lake Cowichan area’s biking and hiking trails to provide better access to all of the outdoor recreation the area has to offer.
It’s paying off and people are noticing.
Over the weekend, the attendance list for the group’s latest trail-building workshop was not just full, there was a waiting list of people interested in being part of the action.
“It was awesome,” said Cowichan Lake Trail Blazers Society president Julia Martinusen after the event. “We had 18 people who came out; the max we were allowed was 20. We had a nice mix of men and women and hikers and bikers and even a paraglider came out, and a trail runner, so people that use the trails in different ways.”
Saturday morning featured a classroom session for attendees to learn the background on basic trail building.
“The weather was just pouring so we were all very glad that we were indoors,” she said.
That afternoon and on Sunday, participants got to work, putting what they’d learned in the classroom into action in the woods.
“Saturday afternoon we did go out in the downpour and we did a survey of the trail we’re working on,” Martinusen said, noting the group took stock of things like potential hazards and safety concerns and potential trail features.
The following day they put their heads down and got to work.
“Sunday morning we all showed up with tools,” she said. “It was amazing what we accomplished.”
Prior to the event, Martinusen said the group made a presentation to Mosaic Forest Management which has supported many of their efforts over the years, but particularly by partnering with the CLTBS on a land-use agreement in Lake Cowichan and Youbou, and by providing them with some seed money to launch their trail-building efforts.
“It was just a real good feel good moment to thank them and also educate the people that had come,” she said. “Some people are just getting into the group so it was good for them to see the work that’s going on and the territory that we’ve had,” she said. Many were unaware of how much Mosaic has helped in making the trail system a reality.
The successful workshop weekend has increased demand for more events.
“We are going to have some trail building days,” Martinusen said. “We’re looking at doing Saturdays every other week starting Nov. 6. An action people could take would be to come out and work on a trail work day.”