Volunteers Chris Williams, top, and Veronika Higlister, equipped at right, install a new metal roof on the user-maintained cabin by the Cape Ball River. (Submitted)

Volunteers restore shelter cabin at Cape Ball

East Beach trekkers can now put a new roof over their heads by Cape Ball River.

Working in the rain, local volunteers Chris Williams and Veronika Higlister recently installed a new metal roof on the Cape Ball emergency cabin, along with two plywood bunks, windows, a door, a firewood rack, and the base for a cast-iron woodstove that should quickly dry out the little cabin.

“We slept in there the last night, partly to try it and party because it was pouring rain out, and it was awesome,” Williams said.

“It was super cozy, and didn’t really stink of old ash anymore.”

With help from the AMS Building Centre, donated windows from north ender Chris Ashurst, and a drive from Tlellian Darrell Oike, Williams and Higlister volunteered a three-day weekend to fix up the run-down cabin.

When they got there, the old cedar-shingle roof had several holes and an eight-inch sag from water damage. The cabin had soaked mattresses and much garbage inside, and one wall showed signs of smoke damage since the former woodstove had northing but a plywood board for a chimney. The new woodstove, donated by islanders, will be vented by a proper chimney that will be anchored to the roof.

The user-maintained cabin is still basic and small — it has a sand floor and only sleeps two comfortably — but it’s in a handy spot, located on a flat stretch of ground about a five-hour hike north of Tlell and not far from where East Beach hikers have to pass a set of cliffs that waves can reach at high tide.

An orange sign on a spruce tree shows people how to find the short path to the cabin from the river mouth.

“It’s a great location,” said Lucy Stefanyk, area supervisor for Naikoon Park.

“And it’s great to see volunteers take such initiative for something that can benefit the greater public and make a safer, more useable cabin.”

The cost of materials for the repairs was covered with $1,600 from BC Parks’ Park Enhancement Fund — a fund raised by individuals and businesses who want to support volunteer park upgrades, including improved hiking trails, new benches or picnic tables, ecological monitoring, and other projects.

For more about the fund, visit the Park Enhancement Fund webpage at www.env.gov.bc.ca.


A handy place to get out from the rain, or camp before passing the Cape Ball cliffs, the small cabin now has a new door and window, and will soon have a new woodstove with a proper chimney. (Submitted)

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