On Thursday evening, Richie Mann spoke to a packed crowd of about 50 people in the Cominco Theatre (located inside the museum) on the history of the Dewdney Trail, which links to our own local history and the discovery of gold in the area.
He began with Edgar Dewdney the person, expanded into the dramatic building of the Trail, and finished with the state of the Dewdney Trail today. Richie also spoke about the efforts to preserve tracts of the original trail.
Richie’s own history with the Dewdney goes way back; he travelled sections of it as a child with his family and, throughout the years, has been active in preserving it. His passion for the trail and its preservation began actively in the early 70s and extends to the present day.
Richie talked about the loss of sections of the trail, mainly due to logging in the area and the loss of markers. “We dropped the ball on that,” he said. But behind the scenes there have been efforts to preserve and protect the trail.
Fortis and other agencies have cooperated in rebuilding sections after pipelines were installed, or modifying the clearing work around the trail. There are now sections of the Dewdney which have been damaged by wash-outs and mountain biking.
As Richie noted, “I have a good trail horse, but I wouldn’t take him on this trail today. It’s hard on horses going down those narrow gullies; it’s even hard to walk.” He’s not sure what the answer is, but believes a good start would be groups working together and he would love to have others get involved and take up the cause. He took a group on old sections of the trail this summer, and his expert knowledge of what to look for has been valuable in identifying lost sections.
Richie believes there needs to be more attention given or the old trail will be lost for good.
The talk series for this year is winding down for the season, but watch for future events.