Hikers retrace historic trek

Video documentary celebrates 100 years of B.C. Parks.

In August 1910, an expedition led by Hon. Price Ellison set off through the mountainous heart of Vancouver Island, a 300-kilometre journey that began in Campbell River and finished in Port Alberni.

Upon his return to Victoria, Ellison provided a glowing report of the spectacular scenery to the provincial cabinet of the time and in March 1911, Strathcona Provincial Park became the first of B.C.’s provincial parks.

Last summer, a group of British Columbians retraced that expedition to celebrate the 100th anniversary of B.C. Parks, documenting their trip as they went.

Like Ellison, the group left Campbell River by canoe and on July 29, 100 years later to the day, reached the summit of Crown Mountain.

The journey took three weeks to complete and Philip Stone, expedition leader, said there were many highlights along the way.

“We were already elated from a safe and successful climb to the top of Crown Mountain,” said Stone. “Just as we scrambled down the last bluff to our base camp, we stumbled upon Price Ellison’s camp from 1910. It was remarkable and unmistakable.

“Ellison’s nephew had written in his journal about the food they had taken along including sardines and a tin of butter, and there were the rusty cans lying right there in the heather.”

The group traced the route going by information and photographs recorded from the original expedition.

Ellison’s great-grandson, Murray Sovereign, was also on the trek, providing another link between the two adventuring parties.

On Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. at Dover Bay Secondary School, Stone and other members of the group will give a presentation on the Centennial Expedition, complete with slides and a documentary video.

The event is hosted by the Island Mountain Ramblers and admission is $10 with proceeds going toward the Strathcona Centennial Legacy Fund.

B.C. Parks is also planning events and celebrations throughout the province in 2011 to mark a century of provincial parks.