We are getting near the end (well, for some) of another hiking season in Greater Vancouver, at least as it applies to the Grouse Grind, BCMC and Larson Trails. Now is a great time to share some updates and information that I personally received from local Parks Board staff on the Grind.
Let me begin by saying that I firmly believe that the new presence of the Parks Board Staff on the Grouse Grind has been a wonderful and much overdue addition. There’s a good reason for this.
PARKS BOARD PATROLLING THE GROUSE GRIND
As fellow Grindaholics know, the popularity of the Grouse Grind has grown exponentially over the past decade, perhaps egged on by the new wave of celebrity sightingson Mother Nature’s Stairmaster. The traffic going up the Grouse Grind and the BCMC has been overwhelming at times, with hoards of beginners making the trek without taking the necessary precautions or grasping their own fitness levels beforehand.
Consequently, it has become a common site to see Search & Rescue, firetrucks, and ambulances at the base of the mountain, vehicles abandoned as they make their way up and through the trails en route to yet another rescue. Even I have had to perform some impromptu rescues here and there. The silver-lining of seeing these emergency services at the mountain is that at least lost or injured hikers are being attended to on the day of. There’s nothing quite as distressing as it is to see these rescue missions go out a day or two after a hiker has not reported home, as the end result is often tragic.
So yes, after having hiked the Grind for over two decades, I’m happy to see the Parks Board staff at the entrance of (and on) the Grouse Grind serving as a helpful concierge, even if it’s just to explain that FLIP FLOPS do not constitute appropriate hiking attire.
Of course, they are doing more than that. Not everyone everyone has had a chance to follow the Grindaholic blog, so it’s good to know that someone else is there, explaining how tough the trails can be, making sure beginners have adequate water, clothing, a charged smartphone battery, and so forth. All in all the Parks Board presence has been a huge success and I hope to see this continue for the seasons to come.
EXTENDING THE GROUSE GRIND HIKING SEASON?
The second and most exciting news, is that the Parks Board is considering extending the open dates of the Grouse Grind into the late autumn and winter. This would be completely contingent upon weather conditions (you would have to monitor the website on a daily basis before planning your hike) and absolute public cooperation. In other words, if the conditions are dangerous, the Parks Board would close the Grouse Grind and ask hikers to respect the closure and go over and hike the BCMC instead (if viable). Failure to do so, would most certainly result in not only a return to winter closure of the Grouse Grind, but ramped up enforcement for those that violate the rule.
The reason for the Parks Board considering this extension is clear. They know that experienced hikers will hike the Grind no matter the time of year (as long as conditions permit) and thus it is better to have regulated and monitored activity on the trail, versus otherwise when “prohibition” is in effect.
This is great news, as long as everyone abides by the law of the land. Otherwise it can have the reverse effect and not only result in a return to winter closure, but excessive fines and potential jail time for those who continue to hit the Grind during the off-season. And Gerry Rahn ain’t doing hard time for no one!
“You know there’s no way I can handle a cage, man”
(Bodhi – Point Break, 1991)
Given that we (us Grindaholics!) may have an opportunity to do the Grind (without sneaking) throughout the year I would like to call on you all to show your support for this initiative. Let the Parks Board hear you, by sending emails via the contact info found on their website (click here).
Thanks for listening.