A new welcome arch will soon grace the Trans Canada Trail at the Alberta border, thanks to the efforts of Elk Valley students.
Teenagers from Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford will spend the next few days dragging a timber archway weighing thousands of pounds over five kilometres of mountain trail to the Elk Pass.
Artist Payton Bruce says the project includes numerous designs representing the region, carved into three logs by electric tools and chainsaws.
“One of the logs has the industrial side of the valley, so the mining, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and hunting,” Bruce says. “The other log which is representing the natural part of the valley, with the animals. There’s an elk, a ram, a bear, it looks super awesome.”
Students from Frank J Mitchell Elementary, as well as Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford Secondary have been working since January building the archway.
Project Manager Dane Campbell says he and other students will spend the next week taking the lumber to its destination in the backcountry.
“From where we park in the parking lot to the site where we assemble it I believe is five kilometres. That’s why we need a lot of people to heave it up,” Campbell says. “The metal shop is currently working on some device with wheels and an axle. We’re just going to roll it up pyramid-style.”
Sparwood Secondary Teacher Stephen Larsen says the scope of the project is unheard of, bringing together four schools and dozens of students in a variety of classes.
He says since January, the project has encompassed a variety of subjects, like outdoor education, art, English, social studies, woodworking, metal work, and even foods class to prepare for the trip.
(Photos from Sparwood Secondary School’s project presentation)
– Project Artist, Payton Bruce, Sparwood Secondary School student
– Project Manager, Dane Campbell, Sparwood Secondary School student
– Jeff Johnson