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‘Entitled’ vandals destroy Wormy Lake signs

Wormy Lake Kiosk copy

An image of the Wormy Lake signs that were destroyed soon after they were posted, maybe in an attempt to discourage use of the area by people “who feel entitled”. SC Trails Society image

A project to build an easy access trail around Wormy Lake, reached from West Sechelt, has encountered delays and vandalism, but trail builders hope to have the new recreation site open this fall.

The project, led by the Sunshine Coast Trails Society in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Sechelt, the Community Forest, and the Community Foundation, is to build a 3.5-kilometre mostly level trail around Wormy Lake. Much of the area was burned over in the 2015 Old Sechelt Mine fire, but it remains a popular destination for mountain bikers, paddlers, fishers, and campers.

Core funding for the project was a $13,000 Canada 150 grant from the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation. The project also received matching funding from the Community Forest ($15,000), Sechelt Rotary ($4,000) and the Western Canada Sustainable Forestry Initiative Implementation Committee ($2,500).

Elise Rudland, from the Sunshine Coast Trails Society, has been working on the project for the last year. She is pleased at the progress so far—much of the route has been cleared and levelled, and bridges built. But she is disappointed that trail signage is being vandalized.

“We put up a Wormy Lake sign at the turnoff and trailhead signs and they were torn down within two days,” said Rudland. “There are people who use this area who feel entitled and don’t want anybody else to come here.”

“Wormy Lake was chosen for its easy access, topography, wonderful wildlife, and educational opportunities around forest regeneration following the fire. We were looking for a family oriented trail that all could enjoy,” said Rudland.

The area is accessed via a logging road that starts at the end of Mason Road. Four kilometres down the road a new parking lot will provide access to the south end of the lake. Construction work is presently on hold due to the extreme fire hazard, but will resume in the fall.

The trail is mostly finished except for a section of boardwalk around a patch of wetland at the east end of the lake. When complete, the trail will encircle the lake. Rotarians have also invested sweat equity, with ‘broom busting’ parties to remove invasive Scotch broom, while the heavy work is being carried out by Sechelt Creek Contracting.

Wormy Lake is a pretty, shallow mountain lake, similar in size to Trout Lake. The area has been home to beavers, though they may not be currently in residence. One of the beaver dams broke recently, dropping the level of the lake by about a foot. Archaeological and environmental assessments were carried out before trail building commenced.

There has been discussion in the community about renaming the lake in honour of John Phare, who died fighting the fire in 2015, but no formal request has been made. The lake lies within Area B of the Sunshine Coast Regional District. Requests for renaming go to BC government, and would need to be initiated or supported by the SCRD. The current name “Wormy” is said to be a translation of a traditional shíshálh name for the lake.   Donna McMahon

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