Locked in by the Military up Slesse Creek
This morning I went for a hike up Mt. Slesse trail, accessed from Slesse creek FSR that neighbours Vokes range. This trail is up Chilliwack Lake Road. I started to feel unwell and cut my hike short.
When I returned to my vehicle, which was parked on the main FSR where the sign is for the trailhead, I had a note on my window that read "gate locked." I then drove out approximately 8 km to Chilliwack lake road and found the gate was most definitely locked and there was no way around. I was 13.5km away from cell service on a weekend and locked in.
Lucky for me, I had an inreach and was able to make indirect contact Pacific Blasting Company and they were able to come and eventually let me out. I was advised that the military had locked the gate and left the note on my windshield. There was no training and there were no military officers on site whatsoever.
I have read old posts on here as far back as ten years ago about access issues to this trail and a subsequent agreement that access to the trail would not be restricted....but with whom? I tried to contact DND and of course no one is available to speak with me. I would really like to make sure this doesn't happen to someone else because first and foremost, they put my safety at risk by locking me in when no one was there. Had I not returned to my vehicle early because of being unwell, I would not have been able to get ahold of Pacific Blasting company. It was even a fluke to get a hold of them on a Saturday.
Second, they knew I was there. I cannot believe they locked me in knowing how far away I was from cell reception. I do understand that when there is ongoing training that the gate has been locked from time-to-time but there was no training today, there was no one on site to let people through the gate and most importantly, the gate was locked without warning. I am still stunned that someone would knowingly lock me in there. The temperature up there drops to near freezing at night up there right now, and while I am a prepared hiker I cannot imagine how this could have played out.
I have tried to call the Vokes range officer and called the Department of National Defence (in Chilliwack) and no one is "available" to speak with me. I am struggling to find someone to raise my concern with. My concern is that they put my safety on the line. This is above and beyond the concern for access to crown land and recreation trails. Does anyone recall who in Chilliwack fought for access to this trail. Access is a secondary issue at this point when compared to safety but I am hoping this will guide me in the right direction on who to raise my concerns with. Thank you
Last edited by Heather Pederson; 10-19-2019 at 04:54 PM.