“We are pretty much cut off from the rest of the world,” said Manager Rick Laing.
UPDATE (Doug Fraser, Search Manager for Chilliwack Search and Rescue, after reading this piece, notified FVN that “We have the same issue in the Chilliwack River Valley through to Chilliwack Lake.
A cell phone works at the start of the road by Vedder Crossing Bridge, but you begin to lose a signal 6 or 7km up the road. The stretch from Tamahi Bridge to Chilliwack Lake (approx 25 km) has no service.
Many of our calls take place in this valley with it containing so many popular hiking, riding, cycling, fishing and swimming areas.)
Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue receives 50 per cent of its calls from Golden Ears Provincial Park, which includes Alouette Lake. Laing is now encouraged by Rogers Communications’ efforts to build a tower in the park.
“We identify the area as a pothole in our network that needed improvement,” said Darren Hird who speaks for Rogers.
The City of Maple Ridge supports the project. Rogers is now waiting for a permit from the province so it can submit its application to Industry Canada for approval. That could take months or even years.
Still, even if the tower becomes a reality in the park, Laing wants hikers to be prepared for Golden Ears.
“They can’t just go out for a walk in regular street clothes and expect they can make a 911 call and rescue is going to be there within five minutes,” he said.
With files from the CBC’s Kiran Dhillon