Ranger Danger: Vancouver’s Grouse Grind Trail Gets 2 Rangers to Help Hikers

Photo credit: Michael Brown | Flickr

Photo credit: Michael Brown | Flickr

Vancouver’s Grouse Grind will be a little bit safer this summer.

The famously gruelling route to the top of Grouse Mountain –  which climbs 2,830 stairs over the course of 2.9 kilometres – now has a pair of dedicated park rangers. For the 2015 hiking season, which commenced May 8, Metro Vancouver has hired the rangers to patrol the trails and assist hikers.

The rangers are currently on the job, though they’re still waiting for official uniforms, according to a CBC article. Their primary role is to ensure that hikers are prepared for the challenging ascent, properly hydrated and wearing adequate footwear. In addition they’ll be able to assess injuries on the trail and liaise with firefighters and North Shore Rescue when more assistance is needed.

But the new rangers won’t be policing the route or enforcing by-laws.

Each year more than 150,000 people tackle the Grouse Grind, which ascends through 853 metres of Pacific coastal rainforest and has earned the nickname Mother Nature’s Stairmaster.

Photo credit: Vitor Pamplona | Flickr

Photo credit: Vitor Pamplona | Flickr

Though the hike only takes roughly 60-90 minutes and is often billed as a “must-do” for tourists, the steep terrain – with large boulders and countless steps – catches many hikers off guard. (Going down is considerably easier: The trail summits at Grouse Mountain Resort and most hikers pay $10 to take the ski tram back to the base.)

Each year, the North Vancouver district fire department responds to roughly 20 emergency calls on the Grind, according to the North Shore News. The district deploys two firetrucks, a rescue unit and 12 firefighters on each call. Meanwhile, Metro Vancouver pays the North Shore Search and Rescue team $4,000 a month to perform safety sweeps at the end of each day, ensuring there aren’t any stranded hikers on the route.

Photo credit: James Wheeler | Flickr

Photo credit: James Wheeler | Flickr

It’s hoped that the new rangers will be able to reduce the need for emergency services by advising people on the trail. In addition, while the rangers won’t be carrying injured hikers out themselves, they’ll be able to better coordinate rescue efforts – distinguishing between a winded hiker and someone in serious trouble – to ensure that the right resources are deployed.

The Grouse Grind ranger program will continue throughout the 2015 hiking season on a one-year trial run.

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