Our visit to Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site in Victoria, BC was, for lack of a better word, historic. It was the first time that the Trail Care Crew hosted a trailbuilding school at a National Historic Site and only the second time that we couldn’t dig a trail (the first was last season at Gulf Islands National Park because of snow). Built in 1860, the Fisgard Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse on the west coast of Canada and is still functional today. According to Parks Canada website “Fort Rodd Hill is a coast artillery fort built in the late 1890s to defend Victoria and the Esquimalt Naval Base. The fort includes three gun batteries, underground magazines, command posts, guardhouses, barracks and searchlight emplacements.” The site is also home to plenty of First Nations history and cultural artifacts and is currently undergoing ecological restoration to the natural Garry Oak ecosystem. Fort Rodd Hill is a small site but has so much going on.

So how to you host a trail building workshop without digging? Well, we had to be creative with the content of our workshop while still making it fun and interesting. We got our participants to try their hands at designing trail systems using topographical maps and then took them outside and armed them with pin flags to design us three sections of trail. It was a great way to get everyone involved while providing practical experience. It also enforced the concepts of planning and design which we focused heavily on during the presentation. Fortunately the South Island Mountain Bike Society is hosting a trail maintenance day this weekend for all of those participants who want to get some hands on experience with building.

We recommend that if you have a National historic site close to where you live you should take the time to visit and discover the fascinating history and culture that our country has. We would like to thank the patient and outstanding staff at Fort Rodd Hill for inviting us to their site and sharing a little bit of the history of our home town.