It doesn't seem to matter what other projects Rotary takes on, when most Chilliwack residents think of the club, the first thing that comes to mind is the Rotary Trail.
"It's a real gem in our community," admits Rotary Trails Committee chair Mike McAstocker. But even on the trail-building front, Rotary's work isn't limited to just one project.
The trail-building partnership between Rotary and the City of Chilliwack has been an enduring one, dating back to the 1980s, when Rotary helped the city build trails on the other end of town along the Hope River.
And next week local residents will get a chance to see the latest manifestation of that partnership at the official opening of the fully refurbished Peach Creek Rotary Trail at the south end of Lickman Road.
What was once a muddy path used mostly by department of fisheries personnel and recreational fishers, is now a roomy 1.7-kilometre nature walk.
"If somebody has a baby buggy, they can now walk along with their baby," McAstocker said. "You couldn't before."
Beginning just off the parking lot at the end of Lickman Road, the Peach Creek Rotary Trail meanders west into the woods along Peach Creek, roughly parallel to the Vedder River, and eventually meets up with the Vedder Rotary Trail, creating a tidy loop for people to walk, jog and bike back along the dike.
The trail was built with education in mind.
Installed along the path are nine interpretive sign boards (designed by local illustrator and Rotarian Jonathan Milne) that provide facts about things students young and old might see in the area, like beavers, types of trees, birds and fish.
In a few select places, trail builders have placed flat rocks by the banks of the creek to make it easier for students on salmon field trips to release fry into the stream.
"It's been set up so that we can really make a meaningful place for taking kids for field trips and that kind of stuff," said McAstocker, a former school administrator.
Altogether the project cost about $70,000 with the Rotary Club of Chilliwack paying $40,000 and the city pitching in the rest.
Next week's ceremony will not only mark the official opening of the Peach Creek Rotary Trail, it will also celebrate the "tremendous partnership" between Rotary and the city, McAstocker said.
It's a collaboration he doesn't see ending any time soon.
"If there's any one reason why it's been a big, strong project it's because we have a lot of great natural resources in the community to work with," he said. "But once started, it's one of these neverending projects because you can continue to build trails 360 around Chilliwack."
. For more information about Wednesday's ceremony, visit chilliwack.com.
© Copyright 2013