Heritage lives all around us: in the stories of our elders or in the faded photographs of our family members. In this case, heritage shelters you from the snow and rain and comfortably sleeps 15 people at 1500 metres above sea level.
Stepping into the rustic cabin on Mount Steele in Tetrahedron Provincial Park, a sense of tradition invites you to unlace your hiking boots, hang up your backpack and take in the stunning mountain scenery.
It is also an invitation to explore the unique cultural heritage that saw the grassroots construction of four wilderness cabins and a trail system to connect them in the summer of 1987. That year, the Tetrahedron Ski Club had accomplished a most challenging task: they had brought together a wide array of stakeholders in the community to collaborate on the project that would open up access to the rugged mountain wilderness beyond Dakota Ridge. Strong community support rested on the amazing recreational potential of the project which would also contribute to the local economy through job creation and tourism. This momentum eventually led to over $200,000 being awarded via federal and provincial grants and soon, the dream of a year-round recreation area was turning into reality.
Once we are settled at the cabin and the embers of a glorious sunset have faded behind the mountaintops, a full moon begins to creep over Mount Steele until it baths the remaining snow patches in soft, whale-bone white light. We watch spell-bound.
In June of 1987, construction was about to begin on the wilderness cabins which were strategically located throughout the subalpine environment. That spring, the cabins were pre-fabricated at the Sechelt airport where a packed open house illustrated the community passion for the project. When summer broke, the cabins were disassembled and all of the materials were transported by volunteers as far as the logging roads would permit. At this point, Airspan helicopters flew the materials to the remote cabin locations where small work crews began reassembly. A testament to the overwhelming dedication felt for the project, an army of over 240 volunteers worked on weekends to assemble the cabins and brush-out 25 km of trails.
On our second night, I ramble up the rocky slopes of Mount Steele and gaze out towards craggy summits of the Tetrahedron and the glistening ocean beyond. As I take in the beautiful mountaintop twilight, I think about the amazing things that can be accomplished when communities comes together.
This September, join the Tetrahedron Outdoor Club as they celebrate the cabins’ 25th anniversary with pancake brunches at various cabin locations beginning September 22nd. Then tie up those hiking boots and get yourself up to the Tetrahedron: there’s history out there waiting to be discovered.
For more information contact the Tetrahedron Outdoor Club