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Hikers still using Crystal Falls trail — two years after Coquitlam blocked it

Coquitlam neighbours raise the alarm about the trail use after a hiker was rescued late May via helicopter.
A late May rescue of a hiker on the Crystal Falls trail in Coquitlam. | Submitted

Residents living close to the Coquitlam River trail to Crystal Falls are once again raising the alarm about hikers using the banned path.

On May 28 at around 1:30 p.m., Coquitlam RCMP received a report about an injured hiker at Crystal Falls; emergency services attended and a longline from a helicopter was used to extract them to safety.

"I am sure this was a very costly operation to taxpayers," wrote a neighbour, who declined to be named but snapped a photo of the rescue and emailed the Tri-City News.

In early 2021, the City of Coquitlam blocked the trail to Crystal Falls following complaints from area residents living close to the trailhead.

The trail, which starts on city land and ends on BC Parks land, falls over three privately held properties — making the route open for liability.

At its height, the Crystal Falls trail saw more than 1,000 hikers a day when the weather warmed up.

Nearby residents said many of the hikers parked in front of their driveways, used their garden hoses for washing and littered.

Neighbourhood representatives pleaded with council to install warning signs and a barricade at the trailhead; however, no gate went up.

On Monday (June 5), Doron Fishman, Coquitlam’s manager of park planning and design, told the Tri-City News that the Crystal Falls trail has been used for years by the community "and continues to see some use despite the city's best efforts to clarify that the majority of the 2.8-km trail is privately held and therefore not an official city-sanctioned trail."

Fishman said the city is now trying to secure the trail as part of its Coquitlam River Recreational Trail System; however, the completion of the trail depends on if the city can secure private lands within the Riverwalk neighbourhood.

"We don’t currently have a specific timeline for implementation," he said, noting residents — in the meantime — can check out the city's official 90 km of trails by visiting the trails page on the City of Coquitlam's website.