A view of Nelson as seen from Pulpit Rock. Photo: Renee Harper

Pulpit Rock still popular with hikers, despite physical distancing

There’s no plans to close one of Nelson’s tourism attractions

The president of the Friends of Pulpit Rock Society says hikers should still feel free to climb the popular trail.

Dave St. Denis said the North Shore trail, arguably the most popular around Nelson, is still being frequented despite physical distance recommendations that people stay two metres apart. He said the society estimates 54,000 people hiked to Pulpit Rock last year.

“I think it’s like anything else. We can suggest to people that they distance and it can be done,” said St. Denis, who added he was about to leave for a hike up the trail with his grandchildren. “All you have to do is step off the trail when you meet somebody.”

Still, St. Denis acknowledged concern the trail may become too used for its own good during the pandemic.

An early trail was in use by hikers by the time it was first publicly referenced as Pulpit Rock in 1913. In the 1980s, the Chamber of Commerce spearheaded an easier 1.8-kilometre route to the rock that remains in use today.

The Friends of Pulpit Rock Society was formed in 2008 to establish a permanent public access point to Pulpit Rock. The majority of the route is on Crown land, save for a small area at the entrance that is owned by the Regional District of Central Kootenay.

Cary Gaynor, the regional district’s parks manager, said a sign has been posted at the entrance reminding visitors to keep their space. He said hikers walking down the route are also asked to yield to those on their way up.

“People have told us that they are, and people are distancing and it’s been really good in terms of people being courteous and consistent,” said Gaynor.

Gaynor said the district has also found full parking lots don’t always equal packed trails and parks.

“There are times, and Taghum Beach is another, where we go and find parking lots are fairly full but there’s not necessarily a lot of users because people are driving individually in single cars.”

Recreation Sites and Trails BC has closed 49 trails throughout the province as well as all camping sites.

Gaynor said the district is in regular communication with the province about the status of local sites, which under RDCK management also include the Nelson Salmo Great Northern Trail (the Rail Trail) and Galena Regional Trail near New Denver.

He doesn’t believe there will need to be any more closures at least around Nelson. But Gaynor admits that could easily change.

“At this point we have felt people can do this with keeping that distance between each other on the way up,” said Gaynor. “We’ll be monitoring that closely and if things tend to change then we’ll have to change our directive.”

Preliminary work meanwhile continues on the new Lyon’s Bluff trail, which the Pulpit Rock Society said will begin at a trail head on the North Shore one kilometre north of the Nelson Bridge and eventually connect across Elephant Mountain with the Pulpit Rock route.

St. Denis said he hopes hikers are considering all the trails around Nelson when heading outside. Anyone concerned about physical distancing at Pulpit Rock, he said, should try the Morning Mountain area.

“That’s the beautiful part of living in our area is we can go out and not be crowded,” he said. “There are lots of other trails.”



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusHiking

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Not business as usual as Nelson slowly reopens

Local owners talk about the pandemic has changed how they operate

City of Nelson takes over farmers’ markets from EcoSociety

Markets start June 13 and will be run by the Nelson and District Youth Centre

School District announces Rick Hansen Foundation difference-maker award winners

Creston student Alexis Folk and Nelson teacher Chris Mieske recognized by the Rick Hansen Foundation

Nelson offers financing for homeowners to purchase electric bikes

Loan payments will be applied to hydro bills as part of the EcoSave home retrofit program

Pay guarantee removed for some Kootenay on-call paramedics

Guarantee phased out as BCEHS introduces a new “scheduled on call” model

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Most Read