High Rock Trail Opening

by Kate Hamilton

July 22, 2022

After 7 years in the making, this summer marked the official opening of the High Rock Trail (HRT)!

To celebrate, the GDTA organized an event at Chinook Lake Recreation Area in Coleman, AB, where the High Rock Trail section begins. In attendance were many of the long-term volunteers, new volunteers, and locals to the Crowsnest Pass. We were lucky to have perfect weather in addition to all the great company.

To start us off, Dave Higgins, who is one of the original 6 people to begin building the Great Divide Trail, spoke and introduced the trail, both the GDT in general, as well as the High Rock Trail. Listening to Dave speak about the history of the GDT is always fascinating and inspiring. For a lot of us it’s strange to imagine a time when the GDT didn’t exist, and that 6 university students pieced it all together.

Dave Higgins introduces the GDT and HRT to start off the HRT Opening Ceremony.

Crowsnest Pass Councillor Lisa Sygutek, and Livingstone McLeod MLA Roger Reid were in attendance. We appreciate them supporting the Great Divide Trail, and it was great to hear them speak to the importance of outdoor recreation, access to it, and how it has personally been important in their own lives. We are grateful that we have them to help spread the word about the GDT, and to encourage other local folks to get out and use it!

Left to right, GDTA volunteers Jeremy Bateson and Deb Yanchula, Livingstone McLeod MLA Roger Reid, Crowsnest Pass Councillor Lisa Sygutek, and others enjoy speeches and stories.

Board President Doug Borthwick took to the front and started by presenting a donation to the Crowsnest Bible Camp, who have started a scholarship fund in memory of Lanea Schroeder. Lanea was one of the many young people to volunteer on the Great Divide Trail. The Crowsnest Bible Camp has also become the first trail adopter group for the Great Divide Trail, taking on the High Rock Trail as their adopted section. The Trail Adopter Program is new to the GDTA, and we are very excited to see how it works out with Crowsnest Bible Camp, so we can extend the program to other locations on the trail.

Then Doug presented Awards of Recognition to Dave Hockey, Brad Vaillancourt, and Wayne Marshall. These three people were essential in the planning and building of the High Rock Trail. Thank you to all three of them for all the time, work, and effort they put into the trail.

The event ended with the cutting of the flagging tape to officially open the High Rock Trail. With great sentiment and symbolism, the flagging tape used for the ceremony had been tied together from tape that had already been used to scout and flag trail sections, during the construction of the trail.

Cutting the “ribbon”. Left to right Brad Vaillancourt, Doug Borthwick, Dave Hockey, and Wayne Marshall.

After the event, a number of folks headed to the Pass Brewery to enjoy the “High Rock Mango Ale”, a beer they designed just for the occasion!

We want to say a huge thank you to all the people, and organizations who made it possible for the High Rock Trail to come to be.

A huge thank you to the HRT Event Team for organizing this day.

Very well organized HRT Opening Ceremony – Thank You HRT Event Team!

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