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Metlakatla First Nation Celebrates Re-Opening of Metlakatla Wilderness Trail with Community and Prince Rupert Port Authority

by ahnationtalk on May 26, 2023150 Views

May 26, 2023

After more than five years of being closed due to damage from a severe wind storm, the Metlakatla First Nation celebrated the re-opening of its Wilderness Trail.

The opening of the 8km trail, which winds along the shores north of the community, follows extensive engineering work to ensure the safety of the suspension bridges and work to clear out windthrow that had destroyed a portion of the pathway. Along with the suspension bridges, highlights of the trail include a viewing tower that offers a 360-degree view over the canopy, picnic sites along the coast, and various access points to beaches along the way.

“The Metlakatla Wilderness Trail highlights the beauty of the Coast Tsimshian Territory and offers an opportunity for all people to respectfully experience some of the natural areas that have sustained the Metlakatla First Nation for millennia. It is our hope that this trail will become a showcase piece for those spending time in the territory,” said Metlakatla Chief Harold Leighton.

Work to re-open the trail was funded in part by the Prince Rupert Port Authority’s Community Investment Fund with a $172,032 contribution, the Metlakatla Development Corporation (MDC) and Northern Development Initiative Trust, all of whom recognize the outstanding recreation opportunity the Metlakatla Wilderness Trail provides.

“The Metlakatla Wilderness Trail is a world-class hiking experience that provides benefits well beyond outdoor adventure and breathtaking scenery by connecting users and visitors to the rich culture and values of Metlakatla First Nation. We are proud to collaborate together to restore this extraordinary recreational asset to enable greater recreational, cultural, and economic opportunities for Indigenous-led tourism and showcase one of the most beautiful places on the north coast,” said Shaun Stevenson, President and CEO, Prince Rupert Port Authority.

In order to accommodate visitors who may wish to experience the trail but have no access to the area, the Metlakatla Governing Council is providing a twice-weekly charter that will be limited to the first 20 hikers. The charters will leave the Metlakatla Ferry Dock below the Crest Hotel on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. and return from the dock in Metlakatla at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. Those on the charter will be asked to sign in to ensure those on the trail can be tracked for safety purposes.

Please note that anyone hiking the trail is asked to bring water, food and any necessary supplies as there is no opportunity to purchase food, drinks or supplies once in the community of Metlakatla. As well, given the rich cultural history of the area, hikers are asked to be respectful of the trail and beaches and not remove any materials. While the ceremony was held, we ask that hikers refrain from accessing the trail until June 6.

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