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Horsemen partner to build 'South Langley Trail'
Horse enthusiasts who enjoy riding through Langley’s beautiful scenery are giving back to the community by extending the trails they love so much - and they are inviting others to join them.
Members of the Back Country Horsemen of BC (BCHBC) Aldergrove Chapter have spent the past several months moving dirt, cutting brush, and clearing a pathway to extend the South Langley Regional Trail. Under the supervision of the Township of Langley’s Parks Design and Development Department, dozens of Back Country Horsemen secured funding, volunteered their time and effort, and used their own tools and equipment for the project. The hundreds of hours of labour have paid off, as close to 280 metres of new trail is now complete.
“Our mandate is to give back to the community and keep trails open for everyone’s enjoyment,” said Peter Thiessen, vice chairman of BCHBC’s Aldergrove Chapter. “This is not just about horses. This is for the benefit of all users - joggers, walkers, people with dogs, and cyclists.”
The South Langley Regional Trail starts at Campbell Valley Regional Park at 216 Street and 4 Avenue. The shared use pathway continues east along 8 Avenue for about 11 kilometres before ending at 256 Street. In 2011, the BCHBC’s Aldergrove Chapter approached Township Council and asked for the money to complete the project and connect the trail through to Aldergrove Regional Park at 272 Street. The Horsemen assured Council they had over 50 offers of volunteer labour and machinery that would help reduce the costs.
“It really makes sense to connect Campbell Valley and Aldergrove Regional Parks,” Thiessen said, “so we formed a committee to see if we were able to complete it.”
Back Country Horsemen’s mission is to give equestrians a safe and social opportunity to learn about trail riding and the wilderness experience. But it also works with government, businesses, and other recreational users to preserve and enhance public lands for all trail users, and to build new trails and other facilities.
Funds to continue the trail were committed by the Township last year, and the BCHBC went to work. A new section of trail at the east end of 8 Avenue has now been completed and built to municipal standards.
The Aldergrove Chapter, one of 17 in BC, has more than 100 members who contributed in a number of ways. During the course of construction, BCHBC members contributed 332.5 volunteer hours through meetings, general trail labour, tractor work, mini-excavator activity, and chainsaw work. One member, Jack Breaks, supplied more than 160 machine hours on his own, Thiessen said, and the organization also contributed financially to the project and secured a grant from the Horse Council of BC.
Through the BCHBC and Horse Council money, the volunteers supplied most of the material for the completed portion of the trail, along with culverts, fabric, and some gravel supplied by the Township. Valley Gravel donated a truck and transfer as well as additional material provided at a reduced rate, as a way of giving back to the community.
Between the volunteered labour and machine usage, fuel and commuting, and the donations and grants secured, the Horsemen’s efforts have resulted in a contribution valued at more than $23,530.
The Horsemen and Langley Township are now ready to continue on with another section of trail near 8 Avenue and 261 Street. The volunteers formed a successful partnership with an adjacent property owner who is providing access for construction of the new portion.
Trail users of all kinds who would like to help are encouraged to get involved and continue working on the trails until the two pathways join up.
“This really is an excellent example of what can be accomplished through partnerships with dedicated user groups, and the result can be enjoyed by the entire community,” said Township Manager of Parks Design and Development Al Neufeld. “We are so pleased with what the Back Country Horsemen have accomplished and look forward to seeing the progression of this project.”
To volunteer with the South Langley Regional Trail, contact Neufeld at email@example.com or the Back Country Horsemen’s Aldergrove Chapter at bchorsemen.org.