One starting point to one of Cowichan’s most popular hike has been closed to the public.
Colloquially known as the “short but steep route”, the setting-out spot by St. Anne’s Catholic Church at the base of Mount Tzouhalem that many use to hike up to the cross is no longer an option according to a sign posted by Cowichan Tribes’ Lulumexun (land) Office.
A spokesperson for Cowichan Tribes could not be reached for comment.
North Cowichan parks and trails director Don Stewart wouldn’t comment on the closure but said the route from St. Anne’s is actually not that much shorter or steeper than the route from the Kaspa Road parking lot.
Stewart said there are three municipally sanctioned access points to Mount Tzouhalem and St. Anne’s Church is not one of them.
“North Cowichan’s sanctioned access points are Kaspa Road, Nevilane [Drive] and Shore Pine Close,” he said, noting that one of the municipal trails that gets hikers to the cross does cut through Providence Farm’s property but an agreement has been reached with the landowners. There is no such agreement with Cowichan Tribes for the St. Anne’s access and Stewart encourages hikers not to use it.
“We’d ask that all people recognize land owners and respect the land owners’ rights and what they’re asking people to do and not to do,” he said.