Phelix Road Maintenance

Executive Summary Nathan had mentioned that the slide was scary and the road was bushy. We figured it would be good to deal with these things before next weekend’s mould-removal trip. And the hot spring made sense. Four carloads of keen people participated. We had three brush saws, a chain saw, assorted loppers, shovels, picks, gloves and raincoats. A lot of work got done. We cleared the slide so that it is not too scary and can now be driven across by any normal 4WD vehicle. We brushed out the road at least up to the one-log bridge, which will improve the ski out for the winter ski trip. A parking spot was cleared at the “Zero Bridge”, and Tom drove across the bridge proving that it is still strong enough to support the weight of his car. The weather was pretty merciful to us; we didn’t get rained on very much while we were working. We stopped working around 3:30 PM and headed off to the hot spring or to dine in Pemberton. Eventually everybody drove to the hot spring, put up their tents, and got into the pools. By the time the beer drinking and nakedness occurred it was raining extremely hard, and I had gone to bed. Sunday morning, not too early, our carload drove home. Apparently the others went to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park.

The details Friday afternoon Roland’s Jeep arrived at the slide and we spent about 1 1/2 hours throwing rocks off the slide until it got dark, then put up our tents right beside the slide. Next morning the other three cars arrived much sooner than we expected, and the brush saw crews distributed themselves along the road. A brush saw is an awesome tool, and is equivalent to twenty or thirty loppers. Martin owns his own, we rented one, and the VOC one, still recovering from major surgery, was working as well. The chain saw was available, but there wasn’t much on the road big enough to need a chain saw. There were a lot of recent ribbons along the road, some saying “falling boundary” and many saying “culvert to go in here”, so it looks like there will be major work on the road, next year. We tried not to cut down the shrubberies which had ribbons tied to them, or when we accidentally did we re-tied the ribbons to something nearby. Logging trucks will not be able to cross the slide without a lot more work with heavy machinery, and I doubt if logging trucks will cross the “zero bridge”, so looks like it will be replaced.

Not much else to say. George left his raincoat at home by mistake, and spent a while borrowing raincoats from people, and for a while he tried wearing his pack cover as a raincoat, but that didn’t work very well. After most of the work was done, my Jeep left for the hot spring as we didn’t need restaurant food and we wanted to catch the scenery and get the tent up before it got dark. The diners showed up after dark. During the night it rained extremely hard; rain on the tent roof was very noisy. Luc put up his tent in a depression which turned into a small lake during the night. By 7 am the rain had stopped and blue sky was appearing so I went and sat in the pool and drank my coffee and watched the day begin. I found three old guys putting up a metal-frame tent-cook shed with a wood heater at one end and a propane cook-stove at the other end, likely preparing for a big bunch of scouts. One of these three had a very ample stomach with a very ample t-shirt on it advertising the pastafarian religion. He said he was an ordained minister; he had sent US$35 to an American address and received a certificate.

Conclusions We got lots of work done and next weekend’s mould-removal crew should be able to drive across the slide ok. It’s hard to predict what will be up there in a year, as logging is planned. I hope no locked gate gets installed, but a gate would not surprise me. Also, maybe we will get one of those “your trail is closed” notices, like we got at Harrison. The hot springs were great, as usual, not as nice as Meager but way more accessible. Thanks to Luc for so thoroughly organizing this, thanks to all the hard-working participants, and thanks to the drivers. I’ll be back.

Sequel We (VOC) just got an email from the local forester asking us to tell him of any concerns which we may have, regarding the logging that will be happening next year. It will be nice to have the road improved by the loggers, but not if they put up a gate or otherwise arrange so we can’t drive the road or hike the trail to our hut.


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3 Responses to Phelix Road Maintenance

  1. Elliott Skierszkan says:

    nice work clearing trail!

    It sounds like the VOC might need a louder voice to connect us with logging companies and inform them that we are a stakeholder in their logging road projects, and would love to be consulted. If we could share our opinion on how useful it is to have road access to our huts early on in their planning, they might stand more of a chance of listening to us, instead of already having things like locked gates firmly included in their workplans by the time they realize it’s an issue for folks like us.

  2. Roland Burton says:

    Now that we have a Huts Person and a Trails Person and an FMCBC person, I wonder which one would be the “louder voice”.

    But I agree that it’s way easier to get our interests as a stakeholder acknowledged before they draw up the master plan.

  3. Scott Nelson says:

    Note that the gate on the Phelix road was put in for wildlife reasons and is called out in the Sea to Sky LRMP Coordinated Access Management Plan: which calls for an April 1-June 15 closure only.

    Upper Phelix Creek is also designated as a wildland area in the sea to sky LRMP which means no logging past the current of the road in the main fork, and only a small amount further in the east and west forks. Do you know where they are planning to log?

    Alistair McCrone at Recreation Sites and Trails BC is the person you want to talk to if you want to convince someone that the bridges / culverts / etc should be left in place after logging is complete. Alistair works for the recreation arm of the provincial government, so he’s squarely in our corner. The VOC may be able to fullfill the road maintenance requirements (periodically checking culverts and removing debris) if doing so would avoid full deactivation after logging is done.

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