Heritage trail on agenda

Kelley  Feral (2)ODHS Annual General Meeting features Hudson’s Bay Brigade Trail Presentation

Oliver, BC, April 4, 2016: What is the importance of a heritage trail? How are these trails used today, and how does one preserve them?

Join the Oliver and District Heritage Society at their 36th Annual AGM where heritage activist, recreation consultant, and popular presenter Kelley Cook will discuss the case study of the Hudson’s Bay Brigade Trail, one of B.C.’s oldest and most used trails and fur trading routes.

Like many heritage trails, the Hudson’s Bay Brigade Trail started life as an ancient path used by First Nations for gathering, hunting and trading. During the fur trading era, it became one of B.C.’s only lines of communication, making it vitally important for the young province. In fact, research suggests that the trail actually helped to secure Canada’s future.

In spite of its great significance, the Hudson’s Bay Brigade Trail had fallen into obscurity and disrepair. Then in 2009 preservationist and recreation consultant Kelley Cook became interested in the trail’s history. She arranged a meeting with the Hope Mountain Centre, Backcountry Horsemen of BC, government agencies and other interested individuals to develop an ambitious 5 year project to restore 74 km of the trail’s path through the Cascade Mountains. In 2015 the trail re-opened complete with interpretive kiosks which allow hikers and history-seekers to follow in the footsteps of the early First Nations and fur traders.

The presentation will discuss all aspects of the restoration project and the current systems which protect and manage heritage trails in B.C. A highlight of the presentation will be some original sketch maps by Alexander Caulfield Anderson of the Hudson’s Bay Company, who mapped the trail on his first reconnaissance through the formidable Cascade Mountains. The talk will also touch on the status of the Dewdney, Hope Pass, Blackeye’s and Whatcom historical trails.

Kelley Cook first became interested in heritage trails while working as a recreation consultant for the Ministry of Forests in 2006. Her role inspecting and reporting on these trails led her to realize the significance of the Hudson’s Bay Brigade Trail and to develop a plan to restore it. After 5 years, the project reached completion. Kelley Cook has given popular talks about the trail project to a variety of audiences. Her expertise on the subject combined with a passion for outdoor recreation and preservation make her a lively speaker sure to engage listeners.

The 36th Annual AGM for the Oliver and District Heritage Society will take place at 7 p.m. onWednesday, April 27th at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre located at 5840 Airport Street. Everyone is welcome but only those with current membership in the ODHS will be eligible to vote during the meeting. Memberships will be available for purchase prior to the meeting or can be purchased by visiting the Museum (474 School Ave.) or the Archives (430 Fairview Rd.) during open hours. Please feel free to call 250-498-4027 or e-mail with any questions.

Caption: Heritage Activist Kelley Cook with her dog Feral