On Sunday, June 14th Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon stood in the sand of Nexen Beach in Squamish and read a statement acknowledging the return of the marine life in Howe Sound. She broke from the script to ask Chief Bill Williams if the elders had recalled a time when Grey whales were in Howe Sound to which he replied “it was a long time ago.” It was a quintessential Howe Sound day and setting for the official opening of the Sea to Sky Marine Trail. As officials, First Nations and observers listened to the speeches under the warm sun being cooled by the Squamish wind, sailboats, paddle boarders, and water taxis loaded with happy mountain bikers travelled nearby. Overlooking the ceremony was the omnipotent Chief, hikers, climbers and tourists travelling up the Sea to Sky Gondola. In the background logs ready for sorting reminding us of the past and ever present industry.
MLA Jordan Sturdy recalled the history of trail blazing in sea to sky country and how this trail carries on the tradition of pioneering in this rugged and beautiful part of the world. Chief Williams appreciates the Sea to Sky Marine Trail as a way to relive and experience the times when the only means of transportation up and down Howe Sound before development was by canoe. The trail provides a learning opportunity to understand the traditional names of sites and former villages in use less than 100 years ago, as the names will appear on the map and campsite signs.
The Sea to Sky Marine trail went from vision to reality under the management of Gordon McKeever with support from many agencies, particularly from Recreation and Trail Sites BC, a provincial body under Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. Alistair McCrone, the lead on this project was pleased to see the official recognition of this trail in time for Canada’s 150 anniversary celebration taking place in 2017 and the completion of the Trans Canada Trail. The Sea to Sky Marine trail is the first and only water section of the Trail connecting people and communities coast to coast. Officials from the Trans Canada Trail were in attendance to thank those that worked hard to connect Squamish with TTC trails in Horseshoe Bay and Gibsons.
Once the speeches were over the trail officially opened, members of Squamish Nation and others kayaked and canoed over to the 12,000 year old Stá7mes, where everyone was welcomed for a delicious salmon dinner. The next celebration will be hosted by Gibsons on June 28th.