A wide view of the Fraser Valley greets hikers who complete the Dewdney Grind.

A wide view of the Fraser Valley greets hikers who complete the Dewdney Grind.

Efforts underway to save Dewdney Grind

Volunteer efforts built and continue to maintain the popular Mission hiking trail

The Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) is taking a popular hiking trail in Dewdney under its wing to try to protect it from potential logging operations.

The Dewdney Grind, accessed off Norrish Creek Forest Service Road east of Mission, is part of a network of unofficial trails built on Crown land by local residents.

At the first summit, there is a memorial cabin dedicated to Ben von Hardenberg, a pilot who lost his life trying to put out a forest fire in 2003 when his helicopter crashed near Bonaparte Lake in B.C.’s interior. There is an unobstructed view of the valley from the peak of the mountain, about another 45 minutes from the cabin.

Because it is not a designated trail, logging companies are not required to respect the path and its alignment, according to a report by Christina Vugteveen, manager of parks for FVRD.

“For it to be a designated recreation site, the province has to designate it,” Vugteveen explained, noting the FVRD wants to work with the province. “They know it exists, but there are a lot of trails they want to do this with.”

The Dewdney trail and the cabin mean a lot to the von Hardenberg family, said Fred, Ben’s older brother.

“The trail was built for everybody,” explained Fred, who noted the man who initiated the construction of the trail two years after Ben’s accident likes to keep to himself, spending a lot of time in the woods.

Wulf is about 75 years old now, according to Fred. “There are four key people who did the work. Those guys hiked everything up there on their backs.”

There are two trails leading to the cabin.

The south route is steep and challenging, while the northern trek is more family-friendly and crosses a natural spring water source.

It was also Wulf’s idea to build a cabin at the first peak in honour of Ben, who grew up in Dewdney.

Fred helped haul material up the mountain for the cabin. Everything, including the stove and all the building components, were brought up by volunteers.

Inside the cabin, there are amenities for a tired traveller, such as tea, snacks, chairs and bedding.

There is also a photo of Ben, who was 33 when he died, and a short story about his life.

A guest book also lets hikers share their adventures and communicate with the family. Over the past 10 years, close to six books have been filled with messages by hundreds of people.

“People from Japan and Europe have signed it,” said Fred, noting the trail has never been advertised, and those who use it only know about it through friends.

“I don’t know how they know about it, but it’s astounding.”

The messages collected are kept in the family’s library. “It’s nice for the family to read. Sentimentally, it means a lot to us.

“(The logging threat) is very disheartening,” said Fred, who noted the north trail has already been cut through by a logging road.

He hikes the trail every week to maintain it and look after the cabin. When the area was targeted for logging a few years ago, he started a campaign to save the Grind. Since then, other efforts have been made, including a Save the Dewdney Grind Facebook page, which has more than 1,500 members.

“Logging could destroy the trail forever,” said Artur Gryz, creator of the page.

Gryz went up the trail for the first time almost three years ago and now hikes it at least once a month.

He has never met the von Hardenberg family, but he is interested in saving the trail because it is “a gem to the Fraser Valley.

“The Dewdney Grind is one of the places that is a home away from home for a lot of people,” said Gryz.

“For me, it’s a way to get away from reality and focus on the outdoors, and focus on the beauty we’ve been given.”

Just Posted

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

Emergency services were on the scene of an apparent stabbing Friday afternoon (June 11) in the 2400 block of Countess Street in Abbotsford. (Photo: Kaytlin Harrison)
Two suspects arrested after apparent stabbing in Abbotsford

Incident occurs Friday afternoon in 2400 block of Countess Street

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada. (ADOBE STOCK IMAGE)
Shining a light on brain injury in Canada

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month

submitted
City of Mission hosting a virtual and in-person open house to explore Silverdale plan

It’s the first neighbourhood planning area of the larger Silverdale Comprehensive Planning Area

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Most Read