He’s over 80 years old, but Brian Moorhead still wears a variety of hats. From prolific trail builder, experienced outdoor enthusiast and climbing connoisseur, to mentor and public parks advocate in the Squamish area, Moorhead has spent thousands of hours volunteering with BC Parks.
In the last decade, Moorhead has spearheaded four major projects with BC Parks in the Squamish area: the Murrin Loop Trail, the Murrin Loop Trail Jurassic Park extension, Baseline Trail and Malamute Trail. In addition to developing these popular trails, he also regularly organizes and works with various volunteer groups to maintain and patrol the trails. Instilling a love of natural areas in countless volunteers and trail users, Moorhead is always planning more work to bring the trails within the parks to a high standard. He is currently working on making the Shannon Pools trail safer and more accessible.
Accessible only by boat, Mitlenatch Island Nature Provincial Park isn’t easy to reach, but every year, 70 to 80 volunteers arrange their own transportation to take on a variety of tasks on the small, rocky island located in the Strait of Georgia, off central Vancouver Island. Formally created in 2010, the Mitlenatch Island Stewardship Team (MIST) provides volunteers who participate in a range of activities, such as offering tours of accessible portions of the island, mentoring university students and youth, conducting conservation activities, reporting illegal fishing and maintaining facilities. The volunteers bring their own equipment, food and water for one-week stays on the island, which is home to the largest seabird colony in the Strait of Georgia. From collecting information on birds, creating paintings and drawings, to various carpentry projects and professional photography, the individuals involved in MIST bring a unique set of skills and expertise that have helped expand the profile of Mitlenatch, and BC Parks in general.
With 1.6 million acres of land, Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Provincial Park is often described as the Serengeti of Canada, and it’s also been the part-time home of Konrad and Gerda Feldmann. Now in their seventies, the Feldmanns have been park hosts at Coldfish Lake in Spatsizi Plateau Provincial Park since 2001, but Gerda recently passed away. The pair welcomed visitors, ensured the facilities and cabins were clean, and carried out whatever small maintenance tasks BC Parks staff asked them to do. They also went above and beyond what is required, taking on carpentry projects to fix up facilities and sometimes build new ones, and contributed to the maintenance of existing trails. Getting to Coldfish Lake is a commitment itself. The Feldmanns drove 650 kilometres from their home in Burns Lake to Tatogga Lake, and then either took a 20- to 30-minute flight by float plane, or hiked 50 kilometres.
As part of BC Parks 100, which was celebrated in 2011, CPAWS-BC and BC Parks sparked a collaborative youth-engagement project called Get Outside BC. The project is a free, outdoor leadership program that aims to connect youth to parks, and catalyze related youth-led community action projects. Reaching at least 40 youth each year, the legacy of this program has been significant. Numerous youth have credited Get Outside BC for changing the trajectory of their education and career path toward a focus on environmental stewardship and connecting people to nature. More than 500 youth have been impacted throughout the province since the project began.
Sandstorm North Contracting has been providing valued service as a park operator in northern B.C. provincial parks since 1996. Currently, they maintain the North and South Peace bundle, for a total of six parks. With a passion for parks and a commitment to constant improvement, the company goes above and beyond their contractual obligations. From helping BC Parks when the 2016 Peace Floods ravaged many areas, to creating the circle-tour map promoting parks in the Omineca and Skeena, to working with a conservation specialist to install bat boxes, Sandstorm North continue to enhance the park experience for all visitors to the area.