Pearce says this is the first time that the trail had been vandalized to this extent; the unidentified man had vandalized the benches, destroyed a table, and pulled out some of the stair steps. (Kelly Pearce/Facebook)
Pearce says this is the first time that the trail had been vandalized to this extent; the unidentified man had vandalized the benches, destroyed a table, and pulled out some of the stair steps. (Kelly Pearce/Facebook)

Pearce says this is the first time that the trail had been vandalized to this extent; the unidentified man had vandalized the benches, destroyed a table, and pulled out some of the stair steps. (Kelly Pearce/Facebook) Pearce says this is the first time that the trail had been vandalized to this extent; the unidentified man had vandalized the benches, destroyed a table, and pulled out some of the stair steps. (Kelly Pearce/Facebook)

Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning thanks Trans Mountain for their donation

Workers for the Mountain Centre are baffled by the unidentified man who vandalized the trail

The Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning is thanking the Trans Mountain Pipeline (TMX) who made a $1,000 donation, towards maintenance repairs, after learning about vandalism at the Hope Lookout Trail.

Two weeks after first learning about it, Kelly Pearce and Nate Brown — who both work for the Mountain Centre —were able to repair the trail which had been vandalized on Oct. 1 by an unidentified man in a camouflage green baseball cap.

During the repairs, which took a few days to complete, Pearce says that TMX and their contractors, Team 5B, made a generous $1,000 donation of gift-cards to Rona, to help with trail maintenance.

“It’s wonderful because it will help us pay for lumber and the hardware supplies to maintain that trail in the months ahead,” says Pearce. “We’re certainly very appreciative when they did this. And it was totally unsolicited. [TMX] had seen the post on Facebook, like everyone else, about the vandalism. While I was up there fixing the trail, they called me on my cell and said, ‘hey, can we give you a thousand bucks?’ Which was awesome.”

Sometimes known as Hop’s Grouse Grind, the Lookout Trail is a steep hiking route that overlooks the town. Enjoyed by the locals for many years, Pearce says this is the first time that the trail has been destroyed to this extent; the unidentified man had vandalized the benches, destroyed a table, and tore out several of the stair steps. He’d also thrown one of the benches down the trail.

“There’s been very limited, occasional, vandalism but nothing on this scale,” says Pearce. “It was a bit of a shock — it just didn’t make any sense and was inconsistent with what the citizens of Hope normally do. And my sense [is] that the trails are widely enjoyed. There’s some people who hike it almost every day or several times a week.”

Brown also agrees with Pearce that the level of vandalism was out of place for the community.

“I don’t think we’ve ever encountered this level of destruction before. Occasionally, you see little things — people like to carve their initials in the [benches] and [pull out] something that’s a little loose,” says Brown. “So, little random things like that. But to tear out that many steps, to break the table, and throw benches — it seems very strange. We’ve never encountered anything like that. In my time with the Mountain Centre, I’ve never encountered anything like that.”

Because of how far up the destruction occurred (and how steep the actual hike is), Brown believes that this might have been the result of the perpetrator having a bad day and taking his frustration out on the trail. Because of this, neither Pearce nor Brown believes this will happen again — though they might consider installing cameras for the future.

Officially registered as a charity on June. 23, 2009, the Mountain Centre works to strengthen people’s connection and stewardship towards nature. The organization started as an officially registered society in 2005, as a Fraser-Cascade School District program called “Hope Mountain School.” Three years later, the organization split into two distinct groups, one being the Mountain Centre and the other the Fraser-Cascade Mountain School (FCMS).

They are responsible for maintaining and caring for over 20 plus trails in or near Hope, all the way up to the Coquihalla. This includes: the Hope Lookout Trail, Alexandra Bridge Trail, Tikwalus Heritage Trail, HBC 1849 Heritage Trail, Flood Falls Trail, and the Dragon’s Back (Kw’okw’echíwel Stl’áleqem) Trail.

Brown says the centre is always looking for more volunteers, especially those who enjoy being outside. To volunteer with the Mountain Centre, you can fill out their application on their site at hopemountain.org/volunteer/ or email them at info@hopemountain.org, or phone them at 604-869-1274.

To learn how to donate to the Mountain Centre, email them at info@hopemountain.org or phone them at the above number.

READ MORE: Indigenous History Hike marks National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Hope


@KemoneMoodley
kemone.moodley@hopestandard.com

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