Alberni Environmental Coalition On-Line Library

 

LOG TRAIN TRAIL REGIONAL PARK

 

The Log Train Trail Regional Park stretches for 25 kilometers along the foot of the Beaufort Range. Scenic views and a trip through history highlight this year-round trail. You may share the trail with horses, mountain bikers, joggers, or someone taking a walk. This trail guide is provided to help you enjoy the Park.

ALBERNI - CLAYOQUOT REGIONAL DISTRICT

 

History of the Log Train Trail

The Log Train Trail was originally part of the Bainbridge Mill rail-logging operation and by 1925 the railroad extended along the Beaufort Range for about 7.2 kilometers. When the mill closed in 1927, the railroad was abandoned.

In 1937, H.R. MacMillan purchased the Alberni Pacific Lumber Company and John D. Rockefeller's timber rights in the Ash River Valley. To access the timber, a 25-kilometer logging railroad was built from south of Polly's Point on Alberni Inlet to the Ash Valley, part of the old Bainbridge Mill grade was utilized. The trestle that was built to cross Rogers Creek was 286 meters in length. This was the mainline for MacMillan's rail - logging until it was abandoned in 1953, when logging trucks became the preferred method of transport. During its heyday, the railroad saw two shipments of logs per day taken from the Ash Valley to the log dump at Polly's Point. Today, considerable debris and some uprights are all that can be seen of the large trestle. Old timbers are currently being used as steps up Rogers Creek ravine.

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Opening day with

The Port Alberni Equine Club, 1990

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The Port Alberni Equine Society has been the driving force for the development of this old right-of-way as a multipurpose trail and Regional Park. Cottage Industries and volunteers associated with the Port Alberni Equine Society have done most of the work to prepare the trail. It is through their vision and dedication that the Log Train Trail Regional Park was created.

Seventeen kilometers of the right-of-way is owned by B.C.'s Ministry of Transportation and Highways and leased to the Alberni -Clayoquot Regional District. The land is being reserved for potential future utility or transportation routes. The Alberni Clayoquot Regional District wishes to thank the Ministry for participating in this recreational endeavor and for assisting in promoting the cultural, natural and transportation heritage of British Columbia.

 
Trail Guide

The Log Train Trail is suitable for family outings by horse, bike or foot. The southern section between Redford and Burde Street is more rigorous due to the Rogers Creek ravine. The trail is primarily for non-motorized recreation.

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Bicyclists on the
Northern section of the trail

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The trail is accessible from many points in the valley, but the easiest start is from the Log Train Trail sign at Highway # 4. Travelling north, the trail passes along the eastern side of Cherry Creek, with occasional panoramic views over the valley. The trail passes through a second growth forest of Douglas-fir, western red cedar and western hemlock that was originally harvested in the late 1930s. The trees have grown back naturally. Four kilometers from the highway is where the Horne Lake Trail enters the valley. The Log Train Trail continues alongside small acreages and farms. Watch for the waterwheel on the north side of the trail near the watering trough. The trough, fed by a nearby spring is a convenient place to rest or cool off on a hot day. At kilometer 7.5 is the access road to the R.B.McLean Sawmill National Historic Site. The old Bainbridge Mill site is located near the point where the Esquimalt and Nanaimo rail line crosses the trail. Continuing north, the trail remains in the forest with only a couple of viewpoints near the end of the trail. The younger forest that you pass through was harvested and planted in 1986 and is now a healthy stand of trees. The Log Train Trail ends at Woolsey Road.

If you choose to travel south from the Highway # 4 sign, you will follow Maebelle Road to Redford Street. A self-guiding nature walk extends from Redford Street towards Burde Street. At Rogers Creek, it becomes steep as it switches backs to the bottom. Please use caution crossing the creek. Once across the creek, the Log Train Trail crosses the Rogers Creek Nature Trail, which runs parallel to the creek. The Log Train Trail continues climbing the south side of the ravine. You will soon cross another ravine and it is an easy walk to Burde Street.
 

The Horne Lake Trail

In 1855, Adam Horne, a Scotsman and fur trader employed by the Hudson's Bay Company, was instructed to find an overland route across Vancouver Island. There was a rumor that the First Nations people used a rough trail originating in Qualicum. Adam Horne found this trail leading to Barkley Sound and it became known as the Horne Lake Trail. It was the route that many white settlers used to reach the Alberni Valley. This trail meets up with the Log Train Trail at the end of Horne Lake Road.
 

The Bainbridge Mill

Located on the Esquimalt and Nanaimo railway, this mill operated between 1917 and 1927. There were about 15 houses for married couples and separate buildings for Japanese mill hands. A school was located near the mill. The mill was internationally famous for the size and quality of lumber produced, and was one of only two mills in British Columbia that produced long timbers. Some were up to 37 meters long and 1.2 meters square, requiring three rail cars for transport. Wood processed at the Bainbridge Mill was used to construct the Welland Canal between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The mill began to run short of timber in the late 1920s. This, combined with other factors, spelled the demise of the mill.
 

McLean's Sawmill National Historic Site

Family-0wned and operated, this steam sawmill began operating in 1925. After it closed in 1965, most of the equipment remained on site and was donated to the City by descendants of the McLean family. In 1989, Environment Canada declared the mill a national historic site. Through a partnership including the City of Port Alberni, British Columbia Heritage Trust and Parks Canada it is being rebuilt to demonstrate a working mill of the era.
 

Alberni Valley Demonstration Forest

Under the umbrella of the Alberni - Clayoquot Regional District, the Alberni Valley Demonstration Forest is a joint project between the City of Port Alberni, the Ministry of Forests and MacMillan Bloedel Limited. The demonstration forest will be a focus of forest stewardship, alternate forest management strategies and public participation and enjoyment. The demonstration forest allows public access to various stages of forest management, to a range of silviculture methods, and to different types of harvesting techniques. The Log Train Trail runs through three sections of the demonstration forest.

Printing of this brochure is sponsored by the Port Alberni Environmental Coalition   Click here for a close up view

Trail Etiquette:

Respect private property and "No Trespassing" signs, and leave gates as you find them.
Protect yourself from slips and falls by staying on the existing trail.
Respect trail closures and help maintain the trail by not using short-cuts.
Carry water and a first-aid kit; this trail has limited emergency access.
Report hazards or trail maintenance problems to Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District.

For more information:

If you would like further information about resources associated with the Log Train Trail, please contact:

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District          720-2700
Port Alberni Forest District                       724-9205
Port Alberni Travel Infocentre                   724-6535
Alberni Valley Museum                             723-2181

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