Asign recently added to the entrance of the Tamihi Rapids is only the start of a growing partnership between community groups to improve and preserve the area.
Emblazoned on the sign are words commemorating the history and importance of the Tamihi to the Chilliwack Centre of Excellence (CCE), a local kayaking club, and the Ts'elxwéyeqw Tribe.
"Slalom course has been in existence for 30 years, but the river has been appreciated by the Ts'elxwéyeqw Tribe for over 6,000 years," it states.
The sign was a collaborative effort between the CCE, Ts'elxwéyeqw Tribe, Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) and Ministry of Forests.
As stewards of the site and whitewater slalom course for the last three decades, the CCE provided their vision for the project, hoping to designate the space for all visitors.
The Ts'elxwéyeqw Tribe supplied wood for the posts and gave support for the sign to be erected on their traditional lands, while the FVRD provided the labour and the Ministry of Forests gave it the goahead.
Orchestrating the project and acting as a communication bridge between all parties was Tourism Chilliwack.
"The key element was the full support and vision of the Ts'elxweyeqw Tribe who were working on their own plans for signage and recreational tourism for the Chilliwack River Valley," said Allison Colthrop, Tourism Chilliwack business development manager via e-mail. "Tourism Chilliwack connected the two groups and provided them a communications channel which resulted in the sign which is just the first project and the many future plans for Tamihi Rapids and the Chilliwack River Valley."
"I think it's fantastic, it's really good," said CCE president, Rob Fletcher, of the collaboration. "My belief is that we can improve the trail along the northside [of the river] so that people can benefit from it."
With the Ts'elxweyeqw Tribe currently in the process of erecting their own historical and cultural signage in the Chilliwack River Valley, Matt Wealick, Ts'elxwéyeqw Tribe Management chief operations officer, called the sign a "great idea."
"The whole Chilliwack River Valley is a beautiful spot and has so much potential when it comes to tourism and recreation that needs to be promoted in a much better way."
Future plans currently under discussion include interpretive trials, increasing trailhead signage, setting up an information board, building washrooms, creating a staging area at Tamihi and replacing the gates to world standards on the course.
Tourism Chilliwack and the Ts'elxweyeqw Tribe paid for the $500 sign, which was erected in September.
The Tamihi section of the Chilliwack River is a world-class slalom course known to kayakers worldwide. It has served as training waters to veteran whitewater kayaker David Ford, former World Champion and five-time Olympian.
The surrounding area is also popular with fishermen, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.
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