Fernie trails expert releases hiking guide

Writing a book about one of his favourite things just felt natural for Terry Nelson.

On Monday, January 7, the Fernie local launched his first book, Fernie Area Hiking Trails and Natural Plant Compendium, a guide to local trails and flora.

As past president of the Fernie Trails Alliance, trails have been in his blood for decades.

“I’m just a trail geek,” said Nelson at his launch. “Way before the Trails Alliance was even conceived, I’m a trail guy. I live in and breathe trails.”

It took Nelson just over two years to compile the book, which features over 300 pages of trails descriptions and plants you might find while hiking in the Elk Valley. Included in the guide are notable trails from the Fernie area, as well as a section dedicated to ‘Trails of Distinction’, which features trails from Elkford south to Waterton National Park. “This is a field companion,” said Nelson, who encouraged users to take the book with them as they hike.

In the Elk Valley, there are too many trails to count. Nelson says this book also serves as a tribute to their creators.

“There’s a real resource of trails and there’s a historic interest from the early 1900s. People wanted to go to the tops of mountains, so they built trails. Some people wanted to go hunting, some people wanted to fishing,” said Nelson.

Without trails, Nelson said Fernie’s mountainous terrain would be impenetrable.

“There’s a resource to draw on,” he said. “If it wasn’t for all the trails, then what would I have to write about? Nothing. So in some regards, it’s an acknowledgment of all the people that help make the trails.”

Nelson’s new book can be found at Polar Peak Books, The Guides Hut, GearHub, Fernie Chamber of Commerce and Straight Line Bicycle and Ski.

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