Editorial: The last word

Trent Ernst, Editor

With the recent spate of warm weather, the snow has mostly gone from around town.

The ski trails down Flatbed have melted away, and, with the warm weather, out has come the hiking shorts.

I’ve been out a couple of times already, and have discovered there are more trails around town than you know.

Last year, I discovered a semi-secret trail near town, which has got me on a bit of a quest to find these undesignated trails around town.

Sometimes the trails lead to what could laughably be called cabins in the woods, though usually they are little more than a few branches hammered up by the local under 18 crowd, who set out to build a domicile in the wilderness, but who got bored after a couple hour’s work.

Sometimes, the trails lead to some pretty spectacular places, though. And so I spent last weekend tramping through the brush following these trails.

And yes, they are trails, and not just animal paths. I know this because animals don’t generally flag their trails, and I have yet to see a deer that could operate a chainsaw to clear off the winter’s windfall.

I love stumbling across a new trail that someone has built through the woods around town. It says something about the character of the people who live here.

Or at least, some of the people who live here. People who are willing to say “I wonder what’s over there?”, or “I wonder if it’s possible to get there from here.”

Generally, it is. Oh, sure, it might involve a lot of sweating and swearing and climbing up cliffs and down gullies, but if you put your mind to it, I bet it’s possible.

The trouble is, the more time passes, the fewer unexplored corners remain. When I first moved up here, Kinuseo Falls was only known by a few, access by the old Monkman Pass route, with no bridges over the water crossings. Most of the places we take for granted now were inaccessable back then. Oh, sure, the local ice climbers knew about Bergeron Falls, for instance, but there was no trail to the falls. And while Bergeron Cliffs were in plain site, I doubt very few had been there in 1988.

Now, though, good quality trails lead to these destinations, and dozens beside. Each year, there are more new things discovered, but with each new discovery, the number of places yet to discover decreases.

Indeed, my biggest claim to fame—discovering the Imperial Creek Warm Springs—was a re-discovery at best, as Timber Cruisers working for West Fraser had mentioned the springs in a report.

I have been with groups that have been quite possibly the first to hike into an alpine area, only to discover an abandoned oil drum.

While the era of discovery around Tumbler Ridge is …well, not ending. How about: we’ve reached peak discovery around Tumbler Ridge? The chance of discovering another Kinuseo Falls is non-existent. The best we can hope for now is to be the first to find a 20m waterfall on a creek. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be new dinosaur finds or ice climbing routes or caves, but the spaces where these things can hide are getting smaller the more time passes. The more people head out, seeking to find these new places.

It’s not a bad thing. Our mission now is to capitalize on these natural wonders. But it’s tough not to be a little misty eyed remembering the good old days when you wouldn’t go into the bush and find someone else’s junk sitting there.

I guess what I’m saying is this: people, clean up after yourselves! You’re not the only one wandering through the bush, and finding a crumpled up beer can or candy wrapper spoils the illusion of seclusion.

Thank you for your consideration.