An information plaque explains the history of the Barrett Hat Trails Lookout, which was used as a fire lookout from the 1940s to 1960s. (Morice Outdoor Recreation Society photo)

An information plaque explains the history of the Barrett Hat Trails Lookout, which was used as a fire lookout from the 1940s to 1960s. (Morice Outdoor Recreation Society photo)

Improvements continue on Barrett Hat and Vallee Lake Trails

The latest additions are benches installed in the fall of 2021

The Barrett Hat and Vallee Lake trail system are fast becoming one of the most popular hiking and recreation areas in the Bulkley Valley.

The Morice Outdoor Recreation Society (MORS) has been working in conjunction with Recreation Sites and Trails BC to create a network of trails, viewpoints and infrastructure that is readily accessible and family-friendly.

The trails on Barrett Hat are well-signed and maintained with maps at strategic junctions. The focal point is the view from the top of Barrett Hat, which was a fire lookout from approximately 1940 until the late 1960s.

In 2019, MORS erected a new shelter on top of the old fire lookout foundation, as well as a viewing platform and boardwalks along the Vallee Lake trails.

In September and October of this year, MORS installed benches in the Barrett Hat shelter and on viewpoints along the Ridge Trail and the Hawthorn Spring Trail.

The feature that will capture the attention of most visitors to “The Hat” are the new panorama signs. Photos were taken of the mountains and vistas, and transformed into informative panels, that were erected facing north, west and south. There is also a panel in the shelter that gives the history of the old fire look-out and some of the people who worked there.

If you choose to walk the Vallee Lake Wetland trails, you will find that the boardwalks there have been upgraded this year. These trails present a different experience than the views of Barrett Hat.

As you wander along the lakeside and around the wetland, there are a viewing platform and boardwalks, as well as plenty of openings to give opportunities for viewing birds and wetland wildlife.

For those who may be interested in birds, Vallee Lake Wetlands trail became an international birding location (E-Bird) in 2020. Currently 106 species have been spotted there.

The Morice Outdoor Recreation Society would like to thank all those who helped make this incredible recreation site a reality. A special thanks goes out to Dungate Community Forest for their support.

Frank McDonald, Greg McLeod and Tom Chatfield contributed countless hours, tools and equipment.

Thanks also to BC Recreation Sites and Trails, the BC Wildfire crew, Castle Building Supply and Hesperus Arts.

 

The Morice Outdoor Recreation Society built a new shelter on the foundation of the old fire lookout at Barrett Hat. (Morice Outdoor Recreation Society photo)

The Morice Outdoor Recreation Society built a new shelter on the foundation of the old fire lookout at Barrett Hat. (Morice Outdoor Recreation Society photo)

A trio of hikers enjoys one of the vistas of the Barrett Hat Trails on a bench installed in the fall of 2021 by the Morice Outdoor Recreation Society. ( (Morice Outdoor Recreation Society photo)

A trio of hikers enjoys one of the vistas of the Barrett Hat Trails on a bench installed in the fall of 2021 by the Morice Outdoor Recreation Society. ( (Morice Outdoor Recreation Society photo)