After a year
and a half the project we started planning has finally come to an end. The
experiences and memories will last a lifetime. GETPARC ( Golden Ears Trail
Preservation and Restoration Club ) is a non profit society and continues to
work with BC Parks to restore and maintain our seventy-five kms of trails in
Golden Ears Park. This emergency shelter will be here for generations to come.
The shelter is at 4720 feet and the Golden Ears North Ear summit is at 5710
feet. From the new shelter it is a 45 minute hike to the summit and 45 minutes down to the old
shelter. The new shelter has fresh water nearby from the snowpack and has a
helicopter pad for rescues. It is visible from several locations on the trail
above and below.
The shelter is 12 feet from floor to peak and the main floor area is 10 feet
x 10 feet. The loft is 5 feet x 5 feet and the walls and roof are made with 4
inch by 6 inch tongue and groove pine.
The above front and back windows push in for use in deep snow.
Access to the loft is from the rear only.
Door faces to the east. The floor is 2x6
tongue and groove pine. The shelter is engineered to with stand a 500 pound per
square foot snow load. The metal cladding is 22 gauge steel from Vic West. The roof runs at a
45 degree angle. The shelter is supported on concrete columns, 2 feet off the
ground in the front, 3 feet in the back. Each column is supported with rods
drilled 1 foot into rock. There are 4 in each column, wrapped in rebar, with
1.2m of concrete in total.
|Type: Datum WGS 84
|Latitude:||49 degrees 22.00 north|
|Longitude:||122 degrees 30.09 west|
The whole structure is grounded. Copper rods are inserted into 2 feet deep
holes 1.5 inches in diameter. Rods are connected by wire to ensure good
grounding. Number 3 wire is connecting the system from the 1m copper lightening rods on the
roof. Both the front and back are independently grounded. The rods in the rock
are packed with rock salt and water to produce a seal. The natural water
flow from rain and snow provide good conductivity.
This shelter is the first of it's kind in the lower mainland. Only in
Garibaldi Park is there something close to this. It is a Gothic Arch design in
Singing Pass and Wedge Lake. The one in Seymour Park at Elsay Lake is not for
emergency, but a destination spot for recreation. The GPS reading using Datum
WGS 84 measurement is latitude 49 degrees 22.00 north and longitude is 122
degrees 30.09 west.
The structure cost is approximately $28,000 to construct - a cost
overrun of the estimated cost of $25,000. Contributions to the project to help with the
overrun are welcomed. GETPARC (Golden Ears Trail Preservation & Restoration
Club) is a registered volunteer non-profit charitable society, founded in 1992
(charitable tax # 1049865-52 ). GETPARC, helps BC Parks preserve and restore the
extensive trail network in Golden Ears Park, Maple Ridge, by bringing
representatives from trail users together collectively. GETPARC serves as a
consensus forming body to facilitate trail upgrading, resolve potential
conflicts between user groups and make recommendations to BC Parks which reflect
those consensus positions. GETPARC also raises money to be used in restoring and
preserving the exclusive trail system. Funds raised are spent on priority
projects in cooperation with BC Parks.
The people involved in the construction are:
Brent Watson, president of BJW Construction, Maple Ridge
Shane Watson, carpenter of BJW Construction Maple Ridge
Al Wilson, carpenter of BJW Construction Maple Ridge
Kamil Aksoylu, president of ECM Electrical Civil Mechanical Consulting
Ltd. Maple Ridge
Ron Paley, Trailmaster/Publicity for GETPARC Maple Ridge
Monday August 5, 2002
We did some additional reviews of the area surrounding the location for the
new emergency shelter. Present were Miles Quesnel of Maple Ridge Search &
Rescue, Brent Watson of BJW Construction Ltd., Ron Paley Trailmaster for GETPARC,
and pilot Jason Kirkland of Prism Helicopters (shown left to right in photo).
Thursday September 12, 2002
We will start construction on the emergency shelter next week and
expect to finish by September 30th. We have been pre-cutting for the last 2
weeks. It is amazing how much 1/4" steel is used for the door and windows. Only
the front and back are prefabed, and the rest is done on site. The helicopter
will drop these in place once we have the foundation in. I've tried to promise
myself not to swear too much when I inevitably hit my thumb with the hammer.
Tuesday September 17, 2002
We met at the Park Headquarters and the weather is off and on. The clouds
delayed the helicopter most of the day, but we finally got all the supplies and
BJW Construction people up to the site. They spent the next few days digging and
laying the foundation forms in extreme rain and wind. They had to drill one foot
holes several times into rock with an added apoxy to secure the foundation. Once the drilling was
complete, rebar was used to tie it all together.
Wednesday September 18, 2002
At least 10 loads were taken up by helicopter yesterday. We hoped to start at 7:00am but with weather and other
problems, we started lifting at 2:00 pm and finished at 8:00 pm. We still have
several prefab pieces to bring up over the next few days. I will be on the
mountain by Thursday or Friday to help with the concrete pour and will stay up
there until it's done. Hopefully will be off the mountain by October 2nd.
Saturday September 21, 2002
I met up with the Prism Helicopter at the Gold Creek campground to arrange
the concrete to be lifted up to the shelter. We had 1.2 meters of concrete to do
over several trips. We also assisted Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue with their
repeater site installation and got a drill bit stuck in the rock. Kamil was
trying his best. After the concrete was placed, BJW Construction crew came down
and myself, Ingrid Uttuslien (treasurer of GETPARC), Inge Hempel (member of Ridge Meadows Outdoor Club), and John Hume (member of both GETPARC and RMOC) went up. We set up camp and climbed to
the North Ear summit and enjoyed the sunny weather.
Sunday September 22, 2002
We made sure the camp was secure, and then proceeded down to the old shelter
to evaluate what to do with it since it is in such poor condition. Following the
evaluation, Ingrid and Inge later hiked off the mountain.
After we got back and
I was trying to get the radio and cell phones working as we had a hiker come off
the summit and tell us a hiker from another group was injured. This other hiker
has slid down the
snowfield and hit his ankle on the rocks. John Hume went up to
see the injured hiker and apply first aid. John is an experienced mountain
climber and has industrial first aid. I got on the radio to the RCMP and
requested that Ridge Meadows Search & Rescue send up a helicopter since it was
determined that the hiker had a severe sprain. We went up and slowly brought him
down to our camp. We looked after the injured hiker and his friend until the
chopper arrived . During all this, five others from another group who assisted
carried on only to get stranded in the dark below Alder Flats. Their
thoughtfulness for this hiker caught up with them and luckily they had a radio
to call for help. Search and Rescue came in to get them out. It was fortunate
that we were there to assist the injured hiker as he didn't have the necessary
gear for a cold night on the mountain - something to always keep in mind.
Monday September 23, 2002
Today the concrete was still setting so John Hume and I decided to hike to
Blanchard Needle and Edge Peak. What a sight to see and as an added bonus the
weather was good! A little rest and relaxation was just what we needed as I knew
we were in for some hard days ahead.
Tuesday September 24, 2002
Later in the day BJW Construction and Kamil from ECM Electrical came up in
the chopper and John went down. We flew up supplies and brought up one of the
back wall fabricated A frames. As I was watching the chopper drop off a sling of
supplies near my tent, to my horror I watched my MEC Tarn Two tent fly up from
the chopper wind and take off down the mountain. It rolled and smashed about 300
feet towards Alder Flats. I climbed down and struggled to bring it back up. I
had no choice since my bag and some supplies were in there. I didn't think I
could sweat like that! Luckily only my fly was slightly ripped and the poles
suffered minor damage. This was incredible - a good ad for MEC: "Our tents will
survive crashing and smashing down the mountain." That evening we planned
the construction for the next few days.
Wednesday September 25, 2002
Every morning Kamil would sing Mona Lisa and I'm sure that was why the bears
stayed away. The weather still good and we got the two other A frame sections in
place - these were flown in this morning. Kamil and I started to drill the holes
for the lightning rod system. We tried to go six feet but at 4 1/2 feet we got
the bit stuck again. There goes $150..00 for a new one times two. We decide
instead of four 2 1/2" diameter holes six feet deep in the rock, we would do two
foot holes times ten. It took 30 minutes to go two feet. Holding on to that rock
machine was something else. The 4x6 T&G Pine for the roof was started and the
floor. We made good progress today.
From left to right is Peter McIlvaney and Ron Paley.
Peter is a very experienced hiker who has
traveled extensively and helped with several documentaries.
Thursday September 26, 2002
The weather is still good and the frame work was going to plan. We had the
shelter framed in and are still working on the lightning rod system drilling
Friday September 27, 2002
The weathers continues to remain good and we start putting up the metal
cladding on the roof. To date, we worked pretty much every day, up at 6:00am and
finishing at 5:30pm. Each evening we would have dinner and a few laughs around
the campfire, then hit the sack hard. The wind gusts and cooler temperatures
made us buckle under our sleeping bags. The bugs up here are crazy! My left eye
is now swollen shut at night and thanks to Ingrid, her bug vest saved me from
And while I'm thanking people, a special thanks to Inge for leaving me extra food and especially the gourmet coffee.
Earlier around 4:00pm we had a father and his two daughters come
down the mountain to our camp from the summit. We are 45 minutes from the North
Ear and about 5 to 6 hours to the West Canyon parking lot. I informed them that
there is no way you will make it out by night fall. We called on the radio to
the RCMP and BC Parks that we would keep them here until morning and also called
his wife on our patch link line Kamil had set up. A good friend of his, Lynda,
who operates a amateur radio was in contact with us and was a great help. We put
them in the shelter, clothed and fed them. We made an unpleasant event for them
into a good adventure his two daughters ten and eleven, who would probably never
Saturday September 28, 2002
We continued to finish the lightning rod system and filled the holes with
copper pipe and rock salt to dissipate the electrical charge. Today the door
also went in. Kamil's wife Louise, and friend Fred and Stephen, both of the Amateur Radio Club,
came up to assist in trying to remove the six foot rock bit but
no success. They all helped wrap things up so Kamil could leave with the
helicopter at 4:00 pm. Prism was very helpful in arranging this special flight
for us. Fred also left a bottle of Whiskey. Oh Yea!! I don't drink, but this
time it was a treat to keep you warm at night. With Kamil now gone and his Mona
Lisa song with him, we settled in for the night.
Sunday September 29, 2002
We rushed to paint the floors and gables and finish the metal cladding as the
weather started to turn by noon. The cold weather came at us with wind, then the
unmentionable happened ...SNOW. We worked in this until 6:00pm then took cover
under the tarps with a fire and over 100 km wind gusts. Our spirits were high
and Shane could always pull a grin no matter what the conditions. Shane's father Brent, the serious thinker, was
always planning one day ahead for the work that was required. Al was a
master at cooking as I eat my Beefegetti. Since the weather was calling for rain
I decided to move into the shelter as I know my fly would leak. Not bad in
there, except there was no TV.
Monday September 30, 2002
At 6:00 am I looked outside and could see three inches of snow on the ground.
It was a cold day, but we worked like crazy to get everything completed. We
installed the push in windows and realigned the door, and then proceeded to get
ready for a fly out at 4:00 pm. This was the latest we could leave since the
temperatures are at their highest at that time and staying any later runs the
risk of fog in. We worked right up to the time the helicopter came. We got our
supplies and ourselves out to Gold Creek. We broke open the champagne and
celebrated what a accomplishment we had made.
Tuesday October 1, 2002 - Recap
Well, the Golden Ears Emergency Shelter is finally finished. I spent 10 days
up there and got back Monday at 7:00 pm. I had the best company for a few days
when Ingrid, Inge, and John joined me. Ingrid and Inge stayed until Sunday and
hiked out, and John stayed until Tuesday when the BJW Construction came back up.
They had very poor weather on their first four days. We had to let the concrete
set from the pour we made on Saturday. We were up at 6:00am for an early start to 6:00 pm to
finish the shelter and had good weather until mid Sunday when it started to
snow. We had 100 km winds and 3 inches of snow by Monday morning.
We had two rescues up there. One on first Sunday when a hiker fell on the
snowfield. John Hume with his First Aid made this hiker very comfortable and I
really appreciated his professional approach. Ridge Meadows Search & Rescue were
very prompt to get a helicopter up there and get the injured hike off the
mountain. The other rescue was the following Saturday when a father and his two
young daughters ran out of daylight. We keep them in the shelter, clothed and
fed them. Lucky we were up there in both cases.
In the near future we have to go up and take out left over metal cladding
and do some touch up. Due to the snow conditions we ran out of time for the
cleanup effort. A special thanks goes to both Prism Helicopters and BC Parks for their
contribution to this project. Without their support, this project would not have
Dave Zall (President Prism Helicopters) and Dan Wiebe (Operations Manager) went out of their way to make this a
I would also like to thank the pilots for their professionalism and skills and also thank Leslie Heppner for handling my numerous phone calls.
I would recommend that Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge thank
them for there efforts. This was a community service that should be recognized.
I take my hat off to BJW Construction, Brent's wife Dorothy for all the calls
she made, and all the people that made this happen. A very special appreciation
to my wife Leanne for putting up with me the last few weeks and the months prior
- that's one of the many reasons why I love her. I always believe what goes
around comes around. Be a volunteer and make a world of difference. I will never
forget the friends I have made here and the feeling that you did something for
the good for your fellow hikers. As is always said by my good friend Russ, "No
trail is long with Good Company." It was a few years ago that Russ and I
climbed the Golden Ears summit and I said it would kill me. Time has passed and
I'm more experienced now. I still won't say it's a piece of cake - only of
course if you fly by helicopter!
From left to right is Kamil Aksoylu ( President ) of ECM
Electrical ( did lightning rod system ), Ron Paley ( GETPARC
Trailmaster and co
coordinator of the project ),
Brent Watson ( President ) of BJW Construction,
Wilson carpenter for BJW Construction
GETPARC Executive 2002
From left to right is Shane Watson (carpenter) of BJW
Construction, Kamil Aksoylu ( President ) of ECM
Electrical ( did lightning rod system ),
Brent Watson ( President ) of BJW Construction,
Wilson carpenter for BJW Construction
- President, Marie Seabrook
- Vice President, Duanne van den Berg
- Treasurer, Ingrid Uttuslien
- Secretary Liaison Equestrian Liaison
- Ron Paley, Trailmaster/ Publicity/ Special Events
- Steve Heggie, BC Parks Liaison
- Hiking & Mountain Biking Liaison, Diane & Dave Wharton
- Members at large, Tim Wittenberg, Bill Archibald, John Hume, Ken Stewart MLA,
Randy Hawes MLA
We represent member groups as follows:
- Ridge Meadows Outdoors Club
- Ridge Riders Mountain Bike Club
- Alouette Field Naturalists
- Valley Outdoors Club
- Haney Horsemen
- Llama Club