Eagle Mountain Access, Input requested by District Recreation Office
Some back story;
Eagle Mountain has been used for four wheel drive recreation for decades since Cyprus Lake Forest Service Road appeared. For the last several decades, this road had deteriorated to the point where it was a punishing trail for all but the better built 4x4’s with experienced drivers. Personally, I classified it as an ‘intermediate 4x4 trail’ which placed it among the more difficult official trails in the entire district and certainly the most central being located in the middle of the lower mainland.
In 2001, legitimate access to this high value 4x4 recreation was lost when a gate was installed. Access to the mountain from then to 2009 was spotty until an agreement was completed for the key access program run by the City of Coquitlam. This agreement included input from the City of Coquitlam, Rec Sites and Trails BC (FLNRO), BC Parks, Metro Vancouver, BC Hydro, Fortis BC, Executive Golf Course owners and the Four Wheel Drive Association of BC.
With the decommissioning of this road in 2018, the original gatekeeper obstacle was jack hammered and filled which opens the trail to potentially much more traffic once the key access is resumed. More traffic means more erosion potential. Where usually we would see a dozen or two vehicles in a week, it is possible that a resumed key access program would see hundreds of vehicles.
It has long been our position to support the reconstruction of a significant gatekeeper obstacle that only allowed well built vehicles with experienced drivers. When we achieve a partnership agreement with the Ministry, we will be responsible for trail repair and working with the government on water flow management and making certain that flows stayed in the current areas and off of the road.
Kim Reeves, President of the Four Wheel Drive Association of BC received the following request for input from the Chilliwack District Recreation Office on Eagle Mountain Trail;
from: Recreation Office, Chilliwack Forest District.
Recreational 4x4ing on the Cypress Forest Service Road (FSR) has been occurring for decades. Since 2009, the City of Coquitlam has managed access to the road by issuing keys at the bottom of the road, and more recently, Coquitlam has managed access by providing access to a Bluetooth lock. The deteriorated roadway made for a high value and challenging 4x4 experience, however, the road unsustainable and uneconomical to manage by FSR standards.
In Fall 2018 the Engineering Department of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operation, and Rural Development decommissioned Cypress FSR. This work aimed at making drainage sustainable with as little maintenance as possible to keep water off the road bed. This was achieved by digging in large armored waterbars along the entire road way. These waterbars were placed to keep water the natural drainage instead of spilling down the road.
After this work was completed the FSR status was removed from the road and was no longer included in Engineering Department’s inventory. With the FSR status removed, the old road way is currently classified as vacant crown land that has a known recreation trail (which currently has no legal establishment). Recreation Sites and Trails BC (RSTBC) has asked the City of Coquitlam to put a temporary freeze on issuing new users access to the Bluetooth lock at the bottom of the trail and current access is limited to approx. 100 people. RSTBC has been monitoring the condition of this trail since Dec 2018 to determine if the trail surface is sustainable for continued 4x4 use.
During this monitoring period the trail surface has deteriorated somewhat, however, the large armored waterbars are stable and appear to be diverting water correctly. However, some spots could use some maintenance to ensure water is kept on track. Additionally, if 4x4 use was to continue in the area it would be important to block access to the neighbouring METRO Vancouver watershed and BC Parks Boundaries.
(What is being proposed)
Recreation Sites and Trails BC (RSTBC) is looking for feedback on some options to inform the District Recreation Officer’s (DRO) decision on how best to manage the recreational 4x4ing in this area. The DRO is considering the following options:
- Continue with the historical management structure of providing access to the trail via the Bluetooth lock that is managed by the City of Coquitlam.
- Classify the trail a non-motorized which would remove the access by recreational 4x4s
- Legally establish the trail under Section 56 of the Forest and Range Practices Act and Partner with the 4WDABC which would allow for trail maintenance to standards authorized by RSTBC. This option would still require the Bluetooth key program managed by the City of Coquitlam.
- Allow seasonal 4x4 use, For Example, if increased sedimentation of stream occurs in a certain time period each year, 4x4 use could be seasonally restricted using the Bluetooth lock system
What you can do:
Eagle Mountain Access for 2019
Posted by Kim Reeves, December 17, 2018
We received an email today that elaborated on the road works that were recently undertaken on Eagle Mountain in Coquitlam and gave some new info about monitoring road conditions while expressing concern about traffic.
“The new works on Cypress FSR have removed the rock feature known as the gatekeeper and has added many large swales and water bars to allow proper drainage with minimal maintenance. This work greatly reduces some of the barriers that required the high clearance vehicle specifications in order to access Cypress Lake and the lookout. Many of the new water bars are quite soft and increased use of the trail could compromise the drainage of the trail substantially.”
“The DRO requests the City of Coquitlam to not allow any additional users to access the Bluetooth lock for the time being. RSTBC would like to monitor the impact on the new trail with Coquitlam’s current list of 4×4 users for approx 6-16 months in order to allow the trail surface to settle and firm up. “
The above quotes outline the concerns of the District Recreation Office. I am following up with the Rec Officer tomorrow to confirm exactly what all of this means as well as exploring the idea of installing a ‘gatekeeper’ obstacle to help keep traffic at predictable levels.
So, those with Bluetooth keys active in 2018 will be able to renew keys with the City of Coquitlam beginning January 3rd at their works yard on Service Center Road.
For those who do not have Bluetooth keys that have been active in 2018 will NOT be able to get keys in 2019, or until the ministry is satisfied with the stability of their road works. What this really means is you need to make some friends. 🙂
Please remember, the City of Coquitlam manage the key program and have done so for almost 9 years. This program has been for the primary benefit of the four wheel drive community. Last January, a Bluetooth lock replaced the conventional key lock which improved access and monitoring immensely, to the 4×4 community’s benefit. Please keep in mind that the City of Coquitlam has respected our community every step of the way in working with us to continue access to this crown land. In this situation, they are simply complying with the gate owner’s (province of BC) requirements. Please respect the City of Coquitlam and it’s employees who have treated us so well.
Eagle Mountain and the result of ministry work re-commissioning and decommissioning the FSR.
Posted by Kim Reeves, December 16, 2018
Eagle Mountain Decommissioning – debrief
As many of you know, the ministry contracted the above work to be done on Cypress Lake FSR, aka Eagle Ridge trail. This work had to be done once the ministry became fully aware that this road had not been decommissioned after the last logging took place in the late 70’s/early 80’s.
Serious discussions began about this work in the summer of 2018 and actual work on the road began in late September and completed this past week.
The Four Wheel Drive Association of BC has been actively and extensively involved in trying to influence the end result of this work. We worked with the primary consulting company and the company doing the actual heavy equipment work over the last 3 months.
While the result is not what we had hoped for, we did manage to get the company to spend 1 day to build a handful of obstacles that will challenge our rigs and provide some more difficult lines. The 4WDABC invested about $1200 to make this happen so we were not left with a simple decommissioned road with drainage ditches.
This is our first experience working so closely with companies engaged in decommissioning and we learned a lot, particularly around how many obstacles there are to truly achieve high-value recreational obstacles while working with government.
Seriously, if you like difficult obstacles where you have to try multiple lines to achieve success, join me in the advocacy arena!
On the much brighter side, Eagle sees a TON of rain and the erosion will take place and old obstacles will re-expose themselves in due course. A little shovel work here and there (gatekeeper) wouldn’t hurt either.
For the more difficult stuff, take the first right going up the main FSR, branch 1 offers a few challenges.
Anyway, that is the news. We did our best and learned a lot. It was nice to have some influence for a change and I think this bodes well for the future.
Eagle Mountain: Temporary Restricted Access
Posted by Kim Reeves, September 5, 2018
I met with Ministry of Forests representatives along with the City of Coquitlam, road construction companies, and Metro Van reps on August 22 to discuss the contract for road re-commissioning and decommissioning of Cypress Lake FSR, aka Eagle Mountain, that was placed on BC Bid last month. The contractor who is awarded this project will begin Sept 10 and complete by Oct 20, 2018. Expect no access to Eagle Mountain during this time.
The scope of work is limited to re-commissioning the road from the beginning of gravel all the way to Cypress Lake. Once the road is re-commissioned, all water culverts will be pulled and armoured water bars will be constructed. Department of Fisheries and Oceans WILL NOT be decommissioning the dam at Cypress Lake at this time. Rogers WILL NOT be installing a 60 meter tower at this time.
The water bar construction and armouring is to accommodate 4 wheel drive vehicles traversing them without damage so that was a nod in our favour to continued access.
The gatekeeper obstacle and all obstacles that currently exist will not be blasted or destroyed, rather, the will be filled over. The gatekeeper will be re-exposed upon completion of the decommissioning. Other obstacles will show themselves in the coming years as erosion takes its natural course.
The 4WDABC intends to work with the contractor who is awarded this project to build some new obstacles to make the trail interesting in the short term while the system returns to what we have come to be used to.
We will also be pursuing a partnership agreement once the road is decommissioned and taken off the ministry books as an FSR so that we can maintain continued access to this high-value 4×4 recreation trail.
Access Changes at Eagle Mountain
Posted by Kim Reeves, August 17, 2018
Eagle Mountain update:
On August 16th, an Invitation to Tender document was posted on BC Bid stating the desire to reactivate and deactivate the road system on Eagle Mountain.
The following is my own supposition and not based on firm facts at this time. I have calls in to the Ministry of Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations to clarify the facts so that I can then share them with the wheeling community.
I infer this work to mean reactivating and deactivating Cypress Lake FSR from the start of gravel all the way to the Cypress Lake Dam. I assume from the many conversations and meetings that we have had with Ministry of Forests, Rec Sites and Trails, City of Coquitlam, Rogers Communications, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, etc, that this will include DFO decommissioning the Dam at Cypress Lake. I also have heard that Rogers has put a tenure request and build request in for a 60 meter cellular tower to be built on Eagle Mountain.
The tenure document states that the road will be closed from September 10th to October 19th, 2018 and all works have to take place within that window. If this is accurate, I read that to mean no wheeling will be allowed during this time frame.
What happens after this time frame is unknown. The 4WDABC has been in constant communications about this project and what may happen during decommissioning. It is our desire to have input into the decommissioning to build Eagle back to the difficult terrain that we see today, or perhaps even better.
Wish us luck!
Eagle Mountain Progress: Showing Them How We Wheel
Posted by Kim Reeves, June 15, 2018
(Posted to Facebook, June 6, 2018)
Eagle Mountain assistance required.
We have an opportunity to assist the fish hatcheries and DFO, and perhaps some local Forestry folks, by driving them up to Cypress Lake above Coquitlam. Some tools and equipment need to be transported as well as 6 – 8 people.
I figure 3 trucks would be perfect to come along with me. I would prefer 3 experienced drivers in fairly presentable rigs to assist to allow us to put our best foot forward.
A weekday would be preferable, like a Thursday. Would anyone be available to assist on Thursday June 14? Count on this being a full day with 9 am meet to run up the mountain and a late afternoon exit from the mountain.
Note that this trail is somewhat nasty and the gatekeeper is very gnarly. Not stock friendly at all!
Please contact me directly via PM or email at email@example.com
(Posted to Facebook, June 14, 2018)
What a great day today was!
Four of us wheeled Eagle Mountain and ferried folks from Noons Creek Hatchery, Mossom Creek Hatchery and some government folks up to Cypress Lake.
They had some work to do at the dam, perform some assessments, move some water and take some measurements.
The trip up and down was relatively uneventful thanks to the excellent driving and spotting from our volunteers.
I want to thank Jim, Dusty and Ron for taking the day off work and accompanying me up the mountain and also for carrying passengers and gear.
The 6 passengers we carried up the mountain will not soon forget their first wheeling experience as Eagle is a hell of a place to begin.
We did ourselves a huge favour today and I thank you for making this happen!
Eagle Mountain Access
Posted by Kim Reeves, July 13, 2017
On June 20th, 2017, Rec Sites and Trails BC advised me that the Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO) under the direction of the District Engineering Officer, would be closing the Cypress Lake Forest Service Road to 4×4 and ATV as of June 30th, citing unrestricted access and existing potential public safety concerns at the Cypress Lake Dam as the main concerns, thus removing legitimate access to the Eagle Mountain wheeling trails.
June 25th, I arranged a meeting for July 11th with the District Manager and engineering staff to assess the situation and determine if a solution could be reached for continued access to this favourite wheeling destination, arranging for a “stay of execution” until that time.
After representatives of the Four Wheel Drive Association of BC met with the Ministry of Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the City of Coquitlam, Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Mossom Creek Hatchery, it was agreed that Cypress Lake Forest Service Road (AKA Eagle Mountain) will remain open. The parties mentioned above will be working together to address environmental concerns, hydrology issues as well as some safety issues.
To secure the long term future of Cypress Lake Forest Service Road, we will need to enter into a road maintenance agreement (RMA) with the Ministry. This agreement will need to address a number of things.
The reason for the RMA is that the government is trying to reduce it’s liability exposure so without this agreement, the road would be completely decommissioned. What does it mean to take over the liability of this road with an RMA? This is what we will be exploring.
We will be required to make a maintenance plan for the road which will require us to address the following;
– Environmental concerns, including hydrology plan to direct water flow to Noons Creek and Mossom Creek
– Some consideration of public safety, while considering the difficulty of the road is what we wish to maintain.
– Safety of our volunteers and workers during maintenance
In essence, we would become the designated maintainer of this road.
In the short term, the ministry will be installing lock blocks on the northeast side of the paved road, just past the gate to stop vehicular traffic from dropping down into the hydro easement. We, working with the Ministry, will also be exploring the idea of our volunteers removing any existing culverts on the road and water barring with the goal of maximizing the water into Noons Creek and Mossom Creek.
We will also be working with the city of Coquitlam to set new requirements to get a key and then a change of the lock on the gate. This will require everyone who has a key and wishes to get a new key to come to the office and do a swap, following the new requirements.
It is of utmost importance that we respect this area and stay on the roads, stay off the forest floor, be super careful around the creeks, and lock the gate religiously! Also, PLEASE avoid using the “back door” route. If we’re going to be responsible for this, we as a group of wheelers need to BEHAVE responsibly.
We will be working with the City of Coquitlam to develop a new requirements list for those wishing to get a key. Once we have this, a new lock will go up and new keys will be available. This should be a straight trade for the keys we have, but those details are still being worked out.
To do this, we will require the services of a Registered Professional Forester, a road builder/engineer or a geotechnical engineer. If you are one or know one who wheels, please have them contact firstname.lastname@example.org – we would love to hear from them and hopefully engage them in this project.
Eagle Mountain and the Key Program
Posted by Kim Reeves, April 8, 2015
Eagle Mountain, or Eagle Ridge as it is also known, is an old, deactivated forest road system north of Westwood Plateau, or as many would remember, north of Westwood Raceway. This area has been an active wheeling area since the ‘50’s.
Access to this area by 4wheelers was officially closed and gated in 2002. This closure marked the end to wheeling west of Stave Lake. This marked the end to weeknight wheeling as well where a small group could go for an hours drive, have some fun and enjoy a nice view of the city.
Our community didn’t give up, people kept speaking up, writing letters to the city, attending meetings with the city, BC Hydro, the golf course and the Ministry of whomever it was that day.
Finally, in 2009, our efforts were rewarded with a key access program hosted by the City of Coquitlam. This was the culmination of work and many meetings between the City, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, BC Hydro, the golf course, the Four Wheel Drive Association and other wheelers.
In April 2010, the program was up and running. People could go to the City maintenance yard, show their ID and registration papers and receive a key.
This program has been immensely popular and the issues that have been faced by the trail system have been few. A few locks for the gate have disappeared, some people have been driving in out of bounds areas just north of the hydro lines but other than that, all sides are pleased with the results. The city has tethered the lock to the gate so it cannot be lost or taken. All parties will work to keep people in bounds as well. In addition, the keys will change and the City is changing the key program to now include a deposit for the key to offset costs.
The Four Wheel Drive Association of BC is very proud to have been part of this effort to reopen access to Eagle Mountain and we consider it a terrific precedent and an excellent model for re-accessing other areas that have been lost.