A map shows a rough outline of where the proposed Dempsey Collinson Memorial Trail might go. (Image courtesy Mark Walsh, Remi Gauthier)

Pitching a plateau trail between Skidegate and Queen Charlotte

Taking the “high way” between Skidegate and Queen Charlotte may never be the same.

Local trailblazers Mark Walsh and Remi Gauthier hope the two villages will jointly build and manage a new hiking trail that runs about 10 km along the plateau between them.

“It’s something that everyone can roll up their sleeves and get involved in,” says Walsh, speaking from his hillside home in Queen Charlotte.

Going west, the new Dempsey Collinson Memorial Trail would start with a gentle climb up to the plateau from Skidegate’s existing Spirit Lake Trail.

Featuring views of Skidegate Inlet, sub-alpine meadows, and several forest types, the trail would then pass Slarkedus and Regier Lakes before gradually returning to sea level near Crabapple Creek at the west end of Queen Charlotte.

From there, hikers could continue along the beach to Kagan Bay, where they could connect with the Sleeping Beauty and Slatechuck Mountain trails, or load into kayaks and explore the narrows and islands of Skidegate Inlet.

Walsh and Gauthier, who kickstarted the 1990s effort to build the Louise Dover Memorial Trail near Sandspit, have already started pouring over topographic maps and flagging a potential route, starting with the remains of what appears to be a 1940s skidder track along Crabapple Creek.

They have also hiked the heart-pumping trail to Regier Lake that takes a more direct route to the plateau from 3rd Avenue in Queen Charlotte — it’s steep, said Gauthier, but would give the proposed Dempsey Collinson Trail an easy access or early exit about halfway between the two villages.

The meadows just before Regier Lake also gave Gauthier a glimpse of the kind of landscapes hikers might see on the plateau.

“Because it’s so exposed to the north and all the wind there, it just makes spectacular trees and forest,” Gauthier said, speaking about the many stunted, bonzai-like hemlock and spruce in the open sections. The trail would also pass stands of yellow cedar, several monumental red cedar and big spruce, as well as the Kagan Bay log sort.

“You see the log sort, you hear the logging trucks and everything,” said Walsh. “That’s part of life here.”

The area along the proposed trail is all Crown land in the Timber Supply Area, and could be allocated to a future Haida Gwaii Community Forest run in partnership with BC Timber Sales.

Walsh said people in Queen Charlotte and Skidegate should think about whether they want the area logged. Besides being visible from Skidegate Inlet and some points in town, he noted that the sloped sections behind Queen Charlotte have several salmon-bearing creeks and brooks.

“I don’t want to see the creek that runs through my property slide off the top of the hill,” Walsh said.

Walsh and Gauthier presented their proposal to village councillors in Skidegate and Queen Charlotte in September, and hope councillors agree to support the initiative, suggesting there may also be grants and summer-student programs available to get the trail built.

“One of the things that’s impressed me about living here is how well the two communities get along,” Walsh said, noting how Skidegate and Queen Charlotte share schools, a hospital, and social events.

“It’s for our mutual benefit.”

Queen CharlotteSkidegate

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Talks with hereditary chiefs run into the night

Ministers expected to make statement Saturday morning

Mohawks propose temporary Indigenous police for Wet’suwet’en territory

The RCMP has already committed to ending patrols along a critical roadway

Talks with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs enter second day

Federal and provincial ministers ready to extend discussions

Wet’suwet’en herreditary chiefs meet with provincial, federal ministers

Neither party speaking on the groundwork laid for tomorrow’s talks

Coastal GasLink agrees to two-day pause of pipeline construction in Morice River area

Work will stop once Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs begin talks with province and feds

Toddler killed in Squamish grocery store parking lot

Child’s mother taken to hospital but her condition is not known

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Most Read