Avalanche Valley, Kristi Glacier travers. /SUBMITTED

By Andrea Arnold

The fight to keep the bridge at 15.7km on the South Dore in place has resulted in a small victory for backcountry user groups. For now, this bridge that provides access to the Avalanche Valley trailhead will remain. The Goat reported on July 27th that the Ministry of Forests had plans to deactivate 2.1km of forest services road including the bridge over the South Dore, as well as another smaller bridge further up the road.

Sean Procktor, one of the directors for the Ozalenka Alpine Club spoke to the Ministry of Forests who said that they will leave the bridge in place. This was also confirmed by Engineering Officer for the Ministry, Timothy Prichard. Prichard said they have reduced the South Dore deactivation to pulling only the small final bridge and deactivating the road to the bridge over the South Dore at 15.7km. He said they will be barricading the larger bridge at 15.7km to allow for pedestrian access only. 

Procktor said that because the smaller bridge is being removed, the Ozalenka Alpine Club plans to build a new foot bridge crossing the small creek, to continue providing access to the trailhead. The Avalanche Valley trailhead provides access to alpine hiking and expansive vistas.

He also says they expect the bridge over the South Dore will be reassessed in the future, and if/when the Ministry decides it is unsafe for foot traffic, it will be deactivated. 

Procktor, the Ozalenka Alpine Club and other user groups are hoping that a long term solution can be found before that decision is made. They also would like to see a plan in place to keep access to other trailheads around the valley open.

When the club received the news of the upcoming deactivation, Procktor created an online petition to garner support, and reached out to other user groups as well as government agencies for help.

“I think that the pressure applied by the clubs and members of the public played a significant role in the reversal of the Ministry’s plans,” said Procktor. “I think the support we received from the Outdoor Recreational Council of BC made a big difference and we appreciate all the support through the petition.” 

The online petition had 964 signatures on Monday afternoon.