Tri-Cities hikers have a new map to help them find viewpoints and navigate the forest trails of Burke Mountain and Eagle Mountain safely and knowledgeably.
Printed and released last month in time for the busy hiking season, the new Coquitlam Port Moody Hiking/Biking Topographical Trail map is full of detail to help even the neophyte hiker find her way.
It's also a fundraiser for Coquitlam Search and Rescue (SAR) and a labour of love for cartographer Steve Chapman, who is also a new SAR member.
Chapman spent a year using GPS equipment, local guide maps and trail information, along with topographical and government data, and walking or running over 500 km of trails to create the map, which is available online and at Canadian Tire.
The British-born map maker (www.mapmakers.ca) said he wanted to help the organization that rescues more than 30 people a year while also encouraging more people to experience the local forests.
"If they have got the information, it gives them the confidence to explore more," said Chapman.
In his native England, the lack of tree cover makes it easy to navigate and you "never get woefully lost," But on B.C. mountains, including those around the Tri-Cities, heavy tree cover, steep topography and changing weather conditions can make trail walking more complicated.
The map can assist experienced hikers to get deep into the woods but it can also help new hikers and mountain bikers explore the area safely because it contains a detailed trail legend with more than 140 named trails plus descriptions of primary hiking areas, special regional considerations and detailed safety advice and contact information.
Coquitlam SAR spokesperson Michael Coyle said the map will certainly help hikers but it will also aid SAR volunteers because it has more up-to-date information and other details that will help in a rescue situation.
"I see this as a wonderful safety tool for the public," Coyle said. "It has all the same information we put out after every SAR incident."
The map was funded with a $5,000 grant from Wesbild and is available for $20 plus shipping online at www.tricitiesmap.com. Canadian Tire in Coquitlam is also selling the map.