New Skawahlook Adventure Park encourages nature-filled family fun

Park hidden off Highway 7 boasts trails, playgrounds and stunning art

A one of its kind ‘adventure park’ is opening half way between Agassiz and Hope Sept.14.

The Syéxw Chó:leqw Adventure Park, owned and operated by Sq’ewá:lxw (Skawahlook) First Nation, is hidden just off Highway 7 and features 33 acres of ‘pristine wilderness’ located at the base of a rocky mountain.

The park is designed as a family destination, with a 90,000-square-foot playground, a beginner level pump track, a mountain bike skills trail and a mixed-use trail network for nature walks, bike rides or jogs.

And of course, it’s a perfect location for dog walking.

‘Syéxw Chó:leqw’ is the Halq’eméylem translation of ‘rockslide in the forest,’ says Sq’ewá:lxw First Nation’s economic developer Mike Bellegarde. And one visit to the park will show visitors just how the park got its name.

Many years ago, boulders the size of cars came crashing down the mountain and now rest in a waterway at the base, covered in a layer of moss.

When Bellegarde first came to check out the area with some interested stakeholders, he said the boulder valley was key to making a decision.

“We came out to clearing and we saw all these boulders here and I could see their eyes light up and they were like, ‘this place is beautiful, it’s unbelievable. If we could just build the trails to get there, cause once you get there it’s gorgeous!’”

Bellegarde says the boulders contrast, but also add to the serene, unique beauty of the park.

“You’re sitting here in this really quiet, beautiful place and you can hear all the animals…it’s so peaceful and then you think about the contrast of what it sounded like when boulders bigger than your house came falling down the mountain.”

The park is chalk-full of incredible artwork made to accentuate and highlight the natural beauty of the landscape. Sts’ailes artist Rocky LaRock created stunning carved ravens and Sasquatches that blend seamlessly into the boulders and greenery of the area.

Haida artist Corey Bulpitt is the painter behind a salmon and water scene on a bridge connecting two sections of the park, and artist Sherman Moore created a number of chainsaw carvings for the new venture.

Sq’ewá:lwx (Skawahlook) First Nation chief Maureen Chapman is pleased to see the park realized.

“The vision and dedication of community members and staff have created a family friendly space to walk, bike, picnic, play and enjoy nature,” she stated in a media release from Sq’ewá:lwx First Nation.

The adventure park is hosting a grand opening Sept. 14 at 11 a.m. and will provide activities for kids, interpretive storytelling and a dance performance. A lunch of Indian Tacos will be served to attendees.



nina.grossman@ahobserver.com

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