COLUMN: Amblepath is the perfect trail for a winter walk

This path runs along the peaceful Harris Slough

Amblepath Trail is a wide path under a canopy of second-growth trees. It starts on the dike near the dog pound and goes northeast by peaceful Harris Slough to end among the new homes of the Amblepath subdivision. 

This neighbourhood takes its name from the trail and is unique in the way the smaller sized lots were first offered exclusively to residents of Squamish. This allowed many young families to build their own homes and fostered a stronger sense of community. 

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Affordable housing at a regulated purchase price may be the best method of keeping our young people in town. The Affordable Housing Reserve Fund, plus community amenity funds from developers, will make a large difference to the supply of low-cost housing in many of the projected developments in our town.                                      

Peaceful backwater 

Harris Slough was once a major arm of the Squamish River. Eons of floods, debris discharges and silt deposits have reduced the torrid flow and this slough is now a peaceful backwater. Waterfowl, small mammals and juvenile fish flourish in these nutrient-rich and calm wetlands. 

The water is mainly fresh and freezes smooth most years to provide pleasant outdoor skating and pond hockey, with the proviso that caution is needed at the edge where rotten ice forms among the vegetation. 

The slough takes its name from Peter Herres (1860-1935), almost always misspelled as Harris, who had a farm in this area from 1900 to 1935. Some of his descendants still live in our town.                                                                                              

Flood mitigation 

The Squamish River dike mitigates the flood hazard in this area, but it does not eliminate the danger. The presence of the dike should not lull residents into a false sense of security because dikes can get undercut and over-burdened. 

The riparian area specified by Streamside Protection and Enhancement is a small part of the overall flood protection. The municipal Integrated Flood Hazard Management Plan will present options to improve mitigation and reduce the severity of flooding. The final report is due this year and should include an update to the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. An effective evacuation plan can prove difficult to implement. Residents should expect to have to fend for themselves for many hours.                                                                                                                                       

Municipal Works Yard on Government Road contains the tools, vehicles and equipment needed to keep our town functioning smoothly. The staff are there to solve minor and major water, sewage and road problems. District of Squamish operations can be contacted at 604-815-6868 or after-hours at 604-815-4040. 

Yard personnel give tours to each Grade 4 class every year. During Public Works Week in mid-May, all residents of Squamish are encouraged to come and take a look at the various work sites including the water monitoring system and the sewage treatment plant. New equipment fitted at the sewage plant should eliminate the long running odour issue. If you smell sewage anywhere in town, report that fact because prompt action will save on big repair costs. 

Put waste where it belongs 

Some homeowners use the historic and seemingly innocuous practice of dumping their yard waste over their back fence. By doing so, they introduce fertilizer chemicals, noxious weeds, invasive species and unnecessary mulch into natural wetlands where such things are not needed. 

It’s better to leave the clippings on the lawn where they will compost more quickly and provide nutrients. Take bulk cuttings and large limbs to the landfill, which needs this to activate their compost. Do not put yard waste into the organics tote. 

Be kind to your only environment.        

 

Amblepath 

An easy path under old-growth trees along a peaceful slough.  

Origin of name: The dictionary says to amble is to walk at a slow, relaxed pace. Trailhead” West of the dog pound off Government Road. 

Use: Walking, sauntering, perambulating. 

Difficulty: Easy green. 

Elevation: Six to eight metres. 

Etiquette: Avoid spreading invasive species. Report locations for expert eradication. 

Feedback: info@squamishtrails.ca.                                                                         

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