The trails which faced the volunteers cleaning up the Eagle River Nature Trails on July 28 faced were seriously overgrown. (Photo contributed)

Volunteers battle thick brush to clear trail near Malakwa

Five volunteers assisted Shuswap Trail Alliance and BC Parks staff

A beautiful trail that needs some work is how Shuswap Trail Alliance Executive co-ordinator Lori Schneider Wood described the Eagle River Nature Trails in Malakwa.

Some of that work was completed by a group of volunteers as well as Shuswap Trail Alliance and BC Parks staff on July 28.

The Eagle River Nature Trails are a series of loop trails located north of the highway in Malakwa. Schneider Wood said work on the trails was delayed by flooding. Due to the late start to do brush clearing work and the heavy rains in the spring, the devil’s club and other plants had grown heavily around the trails.

“It was like there was never a trail out there in some areas,” Schneider Wood said.

“It’s so overgrown than when you walk through you’re actually using your arms to brush it away from you, and if it’s wet, you’re soaking wet.”

Although the work promised to be hard and the volunteer cleanup was organized on short notice, five local volunteers assisted Schneider Wood and Tony Smith, another Trail Alliance staff member. The volunteers who came to help were: Cosmin Man, Charlie Burt, Thora Dunham and Ray Mitchell. B.C. park ranger Andrea Zemanek also helped with the clean-up.

Related: Shuswap Trail Alliance seeks volunteers for trail cleanup blitz

Two more volunteers, Keith Cox and Jim Hoskins, went out on July 25 to clear two fallen trees, one cottonwood and one hemlock, from the trail.

With the help of the volunteers, the entirety of Trail 3 was cleared of brush and most of it was raked as well.

Schneider Wood said she believes the flooding which delayed clearing work on the trail is caused by beavers who are damming in the area.

“That pond is what flooded out trails that I’ve never seen flooded.

“Ray Mitchell, who was out there, said ‘in all the years I’ve been out here I’ve never seen this,’” Schneider Wood said.

She said the beavers may eventually take over the trail, but for the time being people hiking the trail near the pond might catch a glimpse of the dam-building rodents.

A small section of the trail is still flooded but Schneider Wood said it is passable.

Along with the thick brush, mosquitoes made work for the volunteers difficult.

Schneider Wood said Dunham is trying to organize a group of stewards to do volunteer maintenance and give the trail alliance regular updates on the condition of the Eagle River Nature Trails.

“If we can get help from stewards out there we can get it in tip top shape,” Schneider Wood said


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