I have been frustrated for quite a number of years by the lack of good information on trails in the Alberni Valley that is easily accessible on the web.
All the pages I saw were vague statements about there being trails without specifics on how to get to them, how long they were etc. Or they were buried in the back pages of a governmental website. Or they were small part of a national or international site on trails.
But last month I heard that Chris Fenton, a local realtor, had stepped forward and committed to building a site devoted not just to promoting the trails, but to describing them with GPS locations for the trailheads, their features, their distance & difficulty and photos too. He’s calling it Valley of Trails.
Although Chris was raised in the valley, his move away to get his degree at UVic, prompted a change of perspective as it often does for those who leave and return. He wanted to use the skills he had acquired to help the valley in some way.
He was inspired by the Heart of Vancouver island campaign and decided to use his internet marketing abilities and love of the outdoors to start building the website. His business has done well enough that he is now able to spend the time and resources necessary to do it.
The site is still very much under construction. He plans to have a page devoted to each of the trails featured on the site.
His site won’t be confined to trails. Other outdoor activities such as kite-boarding, mountain-biking, and quads are on his radar as well. “The site will never be complete” he says. But he expects that the first version will go live early in 2016.
The project is very much a community collaboration. At the moment there are eight people volunteering their expertise. Gittan Klemetsrud, Ron Mani, Norman Silverstone, and Lesley Beaudoin, are contributing photographs, a crucial key part of any success the site has. Rick & Libby Avis have also graciously volunteered the information that their team put together when creating the current Alberni Valley Trail Guide.
Chris and I are active hikers and will each be contributing trail descriptions. From the Fenton Team, Joanne Morrison, Esther Fenton, and Chris have done all the work so far through designing it and writing.
“In order to reach its full potential we’ll definitely need volunteers.” Chris says.
There are five main areas where they could use assistance. Good quality inspirational photography is vital. Reliable trail content such as directions to trailheads, their coordinates, features to see, difficulty, distance and elevation difference, is crucial. There will be content on other outdoor activities.
I’ve mentioned windsports and mountain biking. Expertise on these and any others would be gratefully accepted.
As the site is a promotional tool, content on local restaurants, accommodations, outfitters, and other businesses is a key part of the site. And other content about Port Alberni and the Alberni Valley is important to provide some context about the area for people contemplating visiting or moving here.
This is an exciting development. I’m happy to be part of it. I encourage anyone who has anything to contribute to contact Chris Fenton at 250.723.8786, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.