25 years to celebrate: Many thanks to those who created & maintain Tetrahedron Provincial Park
On paper, it sounds like routine parks work: Build and maintain four log cabins. Carve out 25 kilometres of forest trails. Ensure that the cabins are supplied with firewood, delivered by air. Maintain a precarious, steep winter road as access to 6,000 hectares.
But now add the crucial ingredient, which has made the recent 25th anniversary of what became B.C.’s Tetrahedron Provincial Park particularly compelling: most of this effort came from thousands and thousands of volunteer labor, which continues to this day.
In just one summer in the 1980s, about 200 volunteers built four cabins, which have become the focus of memorable outdoor experiences for generations of hikers, snowboarders and back-country skiers at Bachelor Lake, Edwards Lake, Mt. Steele, and McNair Lake, respectively. (The youngest park visitor, at three weeks of age, who accompanied her parents for an overnight stay in the park, was part of the audience of 100+ at Saturday night’s anniversary presentation at Roberts Creek Hall.)
Saturday’s presentation—a true community-hall event with pot luck dinner, door prizes, rows of tables of friends and photo displays around the room—was a glowing testament to what community spirit and sweat equity can achieve. George Smith, who managed the original construction crew, shared a slide-show overview of the history of the creation of the Tetrahedron Park, from laying out the log foundations for the cabin on airport land in Sechelt, to a crew of committed volunteers replacing a cabin roof during prolonged bursts of hail and heavy rain.
(As a friend of George’s, I’ve heard his ongoing passion over the years about this project and the area and know the challenges he faced, including death threats from locals, to help create the park.)
Fun and humor, though, were part of the presentation and the park’s volunteer legacy, like the image of the identified guy who “pulled a moon” on a cabin porch. (George knows who it was, but wouldn’t tell.)
George paid tribute to the many individuals and local businesses that provided in-kind support and free expertise to create and maintain the park, the biggest one on the Sunshine Coast. The Tetrahedron Provincial Park officially became a park in 1987 and offers elevations from 900 to 1,800 metres, including Tetrahedron Peak, Panther Peak, and Mount Steele.
This visionary community project, which has helped to conserve local watersheds, old-growth forests of hemlock, fir and cedar, and habitat for many animals and birds, including the rare marbled murrelet, required the cooperation of four local governments, the province of B.C. and the federal government.
A powerful desire for back-country recreation, without crowds and commercialization, fuelled this park’s creation from the start. This was evident in a seven-minute DVD of the park by a local filmmaker and a photo slide show featuring 250 images contributed by those who have relished their time in the area. We saw night-time shots of a silhouetted cabin aglow with firelight, a snowboarder in the air above a snowy bluff, fresh ski trails in deep powder, and numerous scenic summer and winter views.
Michael Wilson of the Tetrahedron Outdoor Club presented fellow club members George Smith and Victor Bonaguro a plaque in recognition of their countless hours as the two primary volunteers of this decades-long community effort. This plaque will be permanently displayed at the Edwards Lake cabin.
Many thanks to George, Victor, and everyone who helped to create this outstanding park. I feel proud to be part of a community of individuals who so willingly used, and continue to use, their free time for the benefit of so many.
To celebrate the 25th Anniversary, a pancake breakfast was hosted and very well attended! (Photos below by Heather Conn)
Many thanks to George, Victor and others for such a fun event. The cabins and the park reflect what a committed group of volunteers can achieve. As cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”