Building a New “Brigade Trail”
Hope Mountain Centre’s trail crew enjoyed a challenging summer in 2021 building a new section of the HBC Trail at Peers Creek.
The project involved the construction of 7 km of new trail on the south side of Peers Creek, at the western end of the 74-km Hudson’s Bay Company (1849) Heritage Trail. The trail section at Peers Creek needed to be re-routed to the south side of the valley in order to avoid logging and roadbuilding being planned by BC Timber Sales. The new trail will be protected by a forested “buffer zone”, centred on the trail. The trail and buffer zone will allow recreation and commercial timber harvesting to safely co-exist.
Peers Creek is a mountainous valley 10km east of Hope, and is part of the historic Hudson’s Bay Company (1849) Heritage Trail, also known as the “Brigade Trail”. Originally a First Nations trail, it later became an important European fur trade route which played a significant role in the economic and cultural history of British Columbia (1849 to 1860). During this early contact period, fur traders worked collaboratively with local First Nations and both cultures gained economically from the relationship.
Hope Mountain Centre began planning the trail re-route at Peers Creek in 2019. The safest route was established on the ground, flagged with ribbon, GPS recorded, and mapped. An archaeological impact assessment was completed by Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre. Recreation Sites and Trails BC granted permission for construction to begin in the spring of 2021.
Since 2009, Hope Mountain Centre has worked with many groups and individuals to restore the HBC Trail, offering recreationists a 74-km wilderness trail crossing the Cascade Mountains from Hope to Tulameen. The trail is available to hikers, backpackers, trail runners, and equestrians. The HBC Trail offers both day-use and multi-day adventures. Ten overnight camps are spread out along the route, featuring bear-proof food caches, toilets, tent pads, benches, and interpretive signs. No fees or reservations are required.
When the trail at Peers Creek is complete in the spring of 2022, it will feature beautiful pockets of old-growth forest, second-growth forest, numerous small streams, and scenic bridge crossings. Interpretive signs along the trail will celebrate Stó:lō culture and the multi-ethnic identity of the 19th century fur trade. In many ways, the project promotes an inclusive vision of British Columbia, encompassing both pre-contact and early-contact history. For more information: www.hopemountain.org.
Thanks to our funders: Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program, District of Hope, and Canada Summer Jobs.
Hope Mountain Centre’s summer trail crew: Myles Wheeler, Logan Sparkes, Nick Gropp, Heidi Wismath, and crew leader Jerome Guay.