THE NESAKWATCH BRIDGE REPLACEMENT
by Arlene Ladd – Yarrow Chapter
Through the beautiful temperate rainforest of the Chilliwack River Valley runs the Great Trail (aka TCT).
Between Tamahi Creek and Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park, near the Ford Mountain Forest Service Road, runs the Nesakwatch Creek. The Great Trail passes over this water course.
After 20 years the once beautiful bridge was failing. This part of the Great Trail is a popular section important to hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. In the fall of 2019, after conferring with Recreation Sites and Trails (RSTBC) we decided to join together to replace the failing bridge.
Along came Ted Holtby, a retired employee of Cattermole Timber … expert in bridge and road building. He was crucial to the success of our bridge replacement.
We were able to get funding through amazing donors:
-CJ Brookes (tack and feed store)
-Around the Lake Race
-Horse Council of BC Trail grant
-Back Country Horsemen of BC Trail grant
-Back Country Horsemen – Yarrow Chapter funds
A sign with the donor’s names will be mounted on the bridge for recognition of their support, along with various written articles published recognizing partners in the project.
Due to the bridge being over 6 meters, we had to overcome dealing with costly engineers, environment and archeological assessments as well as time constraints because the creek is an important salmon spawning channel and the protected home of the Pacific Giant Salamander and Pacific Water Shrew. Environmental protection was of utmost concern. Including having the bridge frame constructed and painted, this process took all spring and summer 2020.
In September 2020 the actual placing and on-site construction of the bridge began.
After a week-long effort with Ted Holtby at the lead and Sean Peters on the excavator, with others volunteering their time, the metal frame that was the foundation of the bridge was placed.
Then over two weekends and 3 rainy days volunteers of Back Country Horsemen – Yarrow Chapter and families, following the lead of Ted, drilled and hammered on the decking and the railing. We also tidied and restored the site.
We are looking forward to official unveiling in Spring 2021. This could be a virtual ribbon cutting ceremony depending on COVID restrictions.
It has been a pleasure to be a part of this project and so satisfying to finally ride over the Nesakwatch Bridge after a year in the making. A bridge that will outlast the current generation and be there for our future population to enjoy.