The Fraser Headwaters Alliance is facing roadblocks – both literal and bureaucratic – in its efforts to improve the East Twin-Chalco Trail. 

Recreation Sites and Trails BC revoked the Alliance’s authority to work on the trail last Fall, shortly before the BC Forest Service deactivated the road by removing bridges and putting boulders on the road. 

In a statement emailed to The Goat, the Ministry of Forests said the road had been scheduled for deactivation for over eight years before it was deactivated in 2023. According to the statement, the Ministry consulted with McBride-based organizations to determine if one could take over ownership and maintenance of the road – after determining that this was not an option, the Ministry decided to deactivate the road.

Since the deactivation, the Alliance has decided to focus on other projects, president Roy Howard told The Goat in an interview.

“They (Forest Service) were getting concerned about the liability of some of the bridges. Even though they’re made of steel and concrete, in some cases the foundation was sitting on rotting logs,” Howard said. “They said, ‘Nope, we’re going to have to shut this down.’ And the Forest Service engineering department decided that the whole road needed to be deactivated.”

After that, the Forest Service removed three of the bridges crossing over the East Twin Creek and two of its tributaries, according to Howard. Forest Service had previously pulled another bridge across the East Twin, he added.

The lack of safe places to cross the creek, and the deactivation of the East Twin service road, has rendered one of the two East Twin-Chalco trailheads established by the Alliance inaccessible, Howard said.

“I understand why they felt the need to do that, but it would have been really helpful for the community to come in and help, for people to take over the road,” he said. “Everybody needs to maintain the road.”

The Alliance has already sunk significant time and money into building and maintaining the East Twin-Chalco Trail, Howard said. Now that the trailhead near the East Twin Creek is inaccessible, the organization has chosen to put the trail on the back burner for now.

“Too much has to be done still to recapture it,” Howard said when asked whether the Alliance would try to regain its authority to work on the East Twin-Chalco Trail. “We may try to do that in the distant future, but at the moment, we just want to focus on the Goat River Trail.”

The Alliance is constructing a footbridge across Whitehorse Creek, along the Goat River Trail. Additionally, the alliance has three remote maintenance camps on the trail planned for this summer: one which will be reached by helicopter, and two which will be reached by packhorse and foot. These camps usually last about a week, Howard said, and give paid and volunteer crews a chance to maintain and improve the existing trail.

“We think what’s left of the Goat River watershed should be protected,” Howard said. “We’re doing the trail work to recover this old historic trail to try to gain some more attention for the Goat (river) and gain some support for protecting the Goat (river).”

The Goat reached out to the Ministry of Environment – under which Recreation Sites and Trails falls – and the Ministry of Forests for comment, but did not receive a response by presstime.