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Hut completes Sunshine Coast Trail

Shelters are now located every 15 kilometres for hikers
Mel Edgar

With the completion of a hut in the Stanley Creek area this spring, Powell River Parks and Wilderness Society (PRPAWS) will have met their goal of having a structure every 15 km on the Sunshine Coast Trail.

Since 2009, PRPAWS has built 12 structures along the 180-kilometre trail between Saltery Bay and Sarah Point north of Lund near Bliss Landing. Completion of the 13th shelter, named after local historian Golden Stanley, marks an end and a beginning for society president Eagle Walz.

“We are going to be at our goal by the time we have the Golden Stanley hut built,” said Walz, “but there will still be a need in the coming years to keep up with maintenance.”

Construction on the enclosed, non-winterized hut started last spring after the closure of Herondell Bed and Breakfast resulted in hikers no longer having a spot to overnight on the long stretch of trail between Walt Hill and Troubridge Mountain.

Walz said 32 kilometres is a bit too far to manage in a day trip. “We got quite a few phone calls about that last year,” he said.

Because PRPAWS volunteers had to wait for the contractor to be available, Walz said the Golden Stanley structure was built over a span of months, rather than a single week of concentrated effort as with previously built huts.

“The contractor was working during the week so we had to wait for him to become available on the odd Saturday,” said Walz. “It was very kind of him to give us the time he had.”

Because materials did not need to be flown in by helicopter and could be packed in by hand, Walz said the cabin cost an estimated $8,000 to $9,000 to build; a relatively affordable amount as some cabins have cost about $49,0000 to construct, he said.

Construction of the Sunshine Coast Trail and its huts was initially funded by a $1.5 million grant from Island Coastal Economic Trust, along with a similar amount raised in partnership between PRPAWS, School District 47 and Model Community Project for Persons with Disabilities Society.

Walz said that money ran out two years ago and the Golden Stanley hut was built using funds raised locally, including a $6,000 grant from City of Powell River.

After the Golden Stanley project is complete, Walz said PRPAWS is hoping to construct a hut at Confederation Lake to replace the earlier non-PRPAWS-built structure, which is quickly becoming unusable due to water damage and an ant infestation.

Because of lack of funds, Walz said the Confederation Lake hut will get have to start as a 12- by 24-foot raised-tenting platform.

“We will start with the foundation and floor and when we get more funding we will do more work,” he said. “We will need to find an angel to come up with the $49,000 to build [the hut] all at once.”

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