When we published an article in January about a hiker lost in Rogers Creek Nature Trail and the subsequent search by a dozen Alberni Valley Rescue Squad members, we were stunned to see how many comments there were from others who had been lost in the same place.
Indeed, the AVRS said the hiker was found—in good health, we might add—in a place where searchers have rescued people frequently over the past eight months. Searchers noted that there are many branches of trails and signage is poor.
This should be a huge beacon for the City of Port Alberni, Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District and local First Nations, for the nature trails cross all their boundaries. It is time to do something about signage in this park before a tragedy happens.
The Alberni Valley boasts some of the most stunning hiking, biking and multi-use trails on Vancouver Island, but we are doing a disservice to users if we aren’t giving them good enough information to use these trails.
As outdoor enthusiast Sandy McRuer stated on several social media sites, ‘both the city and regional district have to stop giving lip service to the issue and come up with a coordinated, properly thought out and properly funded plan for trails and parks.’
McRuer states people have been pointing out trail hazards to municipal authorities for the past 15 years to no avail. A hiker himself, McRuer has first-hand knowledge of the trail systems and what is lacking in terms of signage. He points out that well-meaning users have erected signs in some cases—not speaking specifically about Rogers Creek trails—and sometimes they aren’t pointing in the right direction. While the intention is appreciated, the risk if the signs are wrong could be a liability nightmare for authorities.
City officials have said trail signage will be part of the discussion as they apply for grant funding to connect trails in Roger Creek Water Park off of Gertrude Street with Scott Kenny Trail. We hope they remember a caution from AVRS after the last rescue, that planning and safety can be the difference between making it home or becoming a statistic. That’s not the kind of statistic the city wants on its record.
— Alberni Valley News