New signage unveiled on Barrett Hat

The Morice Outdoor Recreation Society has been working to create a network of trails

Contributed article by Frank McDonald, Morice Outdoor Recreation Society

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

The Morice Outdoor Recreation Society (MORS) has been working in conjunction with Rec Sites and Trails B.C. 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 look-out from about 1940 till the late 1960’s. In 2019, MORS erected a new shelter on top of the old fire look-out 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 view points 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 in 2020. Currently 106 species have been spotted there.