One of Steve Chapman’s favourite trails in the mountains north of Coquitlam and Port Moody is the strenuous route leading to Dilly Dally Peak from Buntzen Lake.
“It’s a long, hard hike,” Chapman told the Georgia Straight by phone from Coquitlam. “You want to leave yourself 10 hours. If you’ve been to Mount Beautiful, then it’s more of the same. But, as you get further north, then it’s even more rugged, very steep, good viewpoints east and west. You really feel as though you’re out there on the edge of the wilderness.”
Chapman is a cartographer and the proprietor of Canadian Map Makers, which published this month a topographical map depicting the hiking and mountain biking trails in Anmore, Belcarra, Coquitlam, and Port Moody, east of Vancouver. According to him, it’s the “first complete resource of its kind for the Tri-Cities”.
Printed on polymer-based paper, the map is waterproof and tear-proof. At a scale of 1:20,000, it shows trails to destinations such as Dennett Peak (Burke South Summit), Munro Lake, Sawblade Falls, and Widgeon Falls in Pinecone Burke Provincial Park, and Cypress Lake, east of Buntzen Lake.
“There’s a lot of trails out here that people don’t know about,” Chapman said. “When I added up all the trails on the map, it comes to, I think, 520 kilometres’ worth. So there’s a lot of exciting backcountry here, which is an alternative to the North Shore.”
One of the people who contributed to the map’s development is Lyle Litzenberger, author of Burke and Widgeon: A Hiker’s Guide. Chapman suggested the map might lead more people to explore Burke Mountain, one of the areas covered by that guidebook.
“There’s a complete labyrinth of trails that look very similar, and it was in desperate need of something being put down on paper,” Chapman said. “So I’m hoping that it’s going to encourage more people to come out there, because there’s some amazing waterfalls and viewpoints. Without a map, anybody going in there up until this point would have really been risking getting lost. They’ve got a fighting chance now of not getting lost.”
Chapman recalled that the map started off as a project for Coquitlam Search and Rescue. He joined the volunteer SAR team in 2013.
“They knew I was into maps, so I was approached to do a new team map,” Chapman said. “It sort of transpired that, if we’re going to do all the work to create a team map, we might as well do something which the public can use as well.”
All of the trails on the map were recorded with GPS receivers. Chapman, who’s a trail runner, said he tracked around 95 percent of the routes, with friends and SAR colleagues handling the rest. He noted this effort was “great preparation” for the Knee Knackering North Shore Trail Run, a 30-mile ultramarathon that begins at Horseshoe Bay and ends at Deep Cove, last year.
Partial proceeds from the map will be donated to Coquitlam SAR. Michael Coyle, SAR manager for the team, helped produce the “Essential Safety Advice” printed on the map. (Last winter, Coyle sparked a public discussion of backcountry safety with his “trailhead selfie” idea.)
For one thing, Chapman advises people to bring a compass and a whistle, and shut off their phones while in the backcountry.
“Everybody should carry a paper map before anything else,” Chapman said. “In search and rescue, we see so many cases where people have gone out using an app to navigate on their cellphone and then their battery’s died, and they can’t even call for help properly because they’ve got nothing left.”