to Brohm Lake Trail Map (273 kb)
This forest has been established for your enjoyment and recreation, and to provide an
opportunity to learn about how forests are managed. Within its 400 hectares, you will find
more than 10 km of connecting trails that allow for exercise, exploration, nature study,
or reflection in a beautiful setting. Brohm Lake itself is a great site for swimming,
fishing, or lakeside picnicking.
Please enjoy and treat this area with respect by staying on marked trails, taking care
not to disturb plants and animals, and packing out all your garbage. Open fires and
overnight camping are not permitted.
The History of Brohm Lake
Squamish First Nation
Brohm Lake lies in the traditional territory of the Squamish First Nation. The Squamish
Nation is comprised of Salish peoples, who are descendants of the aboriginal peoples who
lived in the present day Greater Vancouver area, Gibsons landing and the Squamish
Archaeological sites throughout the Squamish River Valley and Brohm Ridge show evidence
of the historical use of the land and water by the Squamish Nation. These sites include
villages, hunting camps, cedar bark gathering areas, rock quarries, clam processing camps,
pictographs and cemeteries. Some archaeological findings, such as arrow heads or tools,
have been found to be 10 000 years old.
The Squamish Nation traditionally hunted deer, elk, black bear, mountain goat, beaver,
racoon, muskrat and other mammals in the valley, as well as ruffed and blue grouse. A
variety of plants were harvested at different times of the year for their berries and
their fruit, tender green shoots, and edible roots, tubers and bulbs.
The forests in the valley provided materials for the construction of longhouses,
canoes, furniture, weapons, utensils and ceremonial objects. Bark was also stripped from
trees in order to make clothes, towels, mats, mattresses and other products. Roots were
used in the making of baskets. At higher elevations, obsidian was used for making tools.
The Squamish Nation was also involved in a complex economic system with other First
Nations in the region, and the traditional territory was at the hub of a major trade route
from the coast to the interior of the province. Transportation routes existed on both land
and water. An important overland trail ran from the Squamish River area through Whistler
to the Pemberton Valley and beyond. After the arrival of Europeans, the Squamish First
Nation expanded their trade relations by providing newcomers with fish and other items
they required to survive.
Today, the Squamish Nation continues to harvest fish and other marine resources from
both freshwater and saltwater. They continue to take game from the land. They also harvest
timber and other resources from the forest.
Logging and Recreation
At the start of the 1900s, Squamish was beginning to awaken from a tiny rural area into
a resource based community. In 1910, a man by the name of Norton McKinnon came to the area
to log by railway, laying track from the Mamquam River to the Northern Pemberton Railway
line. Unfortunately, a company fire in 1913 by the Mamquam River resulted in the loss of
McKinnons business, and he left Squamish soon after.
Despite this setback to one of the first logging pioneers, harvesting continued through
the Squamish area with the company of Merrill and Ring. With a steam engine salvaged from
Norton McKinnons company, Merrill and Ring continued laying railway track from what
is now the log dump south of the Stawamus Reserve to Valleycliffe and across the Mamquam
River. The company then continued to expand their lines, accessing Edith Lake, Cat Lake
(so named because Merrill and Ring brought in a caterpillar to log around the lake), and
By the end of the 1930s, the limitations of railway logging were becoming more evident.
Not only were tracks expensive to build, but they could only access gentle forest slopes
of two to six percent. In order to expand their business and open new, steeper areas to
harvesting, Merrill and Ring introduced truck logging at the south end of Brohm Lake
slightly before the last railway tie was laid in the same area. The company left Squamish
in 1940, but by then many of the people who came to the town remained and spread their
skills to new logging companies and the Pacific Great Eastern Railway (now know as BCR).
Among the new companies established and working in the Brohm Lake area were Empire
Mills (est. 1939), Squamish Mills (est. 1952), Chris Nygard (1947), and C.R.B. Logging. In
1944, Dennis Debeck and his partner John Bruntzan set up a sawmill at the southwest end of
the lake until 1950, when they moved it to Alice Lake. Howe Sound Timber was also active
around Brohm Lake, harvesting timber on the northeast side and using the lake to drag logs
across to the highway.
In 1953, berry pickers at the north end of Brohm Lake started a fire that spread along
the east shore to the south end. All members in what was by then a strong, resource based
community came to fight the fire and protect their livelihoods. Following recovery from
the fire, limited logging in small areas around Brohm Lake continued with companies such
as Hal-Wray, A and R Logging, Squamish Mills, and C.R.B. Logging. A European company even
built a lodge on Brohm Ridge for a proposed ski hill, although Whistler soon won out as
the destination of choice and the Brohm Ridge development never materialized.
Small areas around Brohm Lake were contracted to companies such as Seymour Logging,
Magee Logging, and McRae Logging through the 1970s and 1980s. The Brohm Lake Forest
Service Recreation Site was established in 1974 and the trail around the lake was built in
Close to Squamish and the Sea-to-Sky highway, the forests unique mix of terrain
and ecological features make it perfect for both recreational and educational
opportunities. Today, school groups, tourists and outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the offerings
of Brohm Lake. The forest is an example of how forests can be managed to ensure the
economic benefits of a sustainable resource without compromising other forest values.
Ecology at Brohm Lake
The south end of Brohm Lake is an excellent example of a wetland ecosystem. Wetlands
occur where the soil is waterlogged for all or part of the year. A great variety of
plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish and mammals can be part of a wetland
ecosystem. Physical and chemical features, such as landscape shape, geology, and the
movement and abundance of water, help to determine the types of plants and animals that
inhabit each wetland.
In a wetland ecosystem, complex interactions take place between the physical elements
of water, soil, and air and the biological elements of plants, animals, and other living
organisms. Dead plant leaves and stems break down in the water to form small particles of
organic material called detritus. This enriched material feeds many small aquatic insects,
shellfish, and small fish that are, in turn, food for larger predatory fish, reptiles,
amphibians, birds, and mammals. In Shadow Lake, trout species rely on aquatic insects and
microbes for food, while they themselves provide food for eagles and osprey. Waterfowl use
the wetland for shelter, feeding, breeding, and nesting habitat.
As well as supporting a diverse range of aquatic and terrestrial life forms, wetlands
play an important role in maintaining water quality. They help filter water by retaining
excess nutrients, some pollutants, and sediment that may otherwise clog streams and impact
fish and amphibian populations. Wetlands help reduce soil erosion and potential for
flooding by retaining and slowing the flow of water. Wetlands also act as carbon sinks by
holding carbon in their plant communities and soil instead of releasing it to the
atmosphere. In this way, they help to moderate global climate conditions.
Brohm Lake Trail Approx. 0.6 km to Connector Trail or 3.5 km around lake -
Caution: stairs and bridges may be
slippery. Mountain biking not permitted
Looping around Brohm Lake, this trail offers scenic views, lake access, and a variety
of plants and wildlife to enjoy. From the trail, you will see several western red-cedar
and Douglas-fir trees which survived the fire of 1953 and the harvests between the late
1930s and 1960s. Many of these trees are over 200 years old. As you pass by Brohm Creek
and along the western shore of the lake, watch for older trees and stumps which have been
scarred by fire. Wildlife viewing opportunities for species such as merganser, woodpecker,
and grouse are abundant along this trail.
Powerline Trail 1.5 km -
Stairs and bridges may be slippery. Do not go near high voltage lines or climb towers.
Risk of electrocution is very high
The Powerline Trail runs along BC Hydros 500 000 volt transmission right-of-way.
This powerline corridor carries hydroelectricity from the Peace Region to the Lower
Mainland and Vancouver Island. The trail also supports hiking and cycling where it crosses
Trees growing along the right-of-way are well trimmed back from the high voltage wires
to prevent accidental short circuits which could cause forest fires, power outages, or
Although BC Hydro co-operates with the publics use of
rights-of-way, people using a right-of-way do so at their own risk. BC Hydro has not taken steps to reduce hazards
that may exist on the right-of-way. Furthermore, users should be aware that these
transmission lines carry extremely high voltages. Never attempt to go near the high
voltage lines or climb these towers.
Bridge Trail 1 km to High Trail - Moderate
Connecting the Alder Trail to the Brohm Lake Trail, this path goes through an area
where you can see many signs of old springboard logging activity. Notches in several of
the western red-cedar stumps show where springboards were placed so fallers could stand
higher to cut into the trees. Mills operating in the 1940s could not handle the flared
lower trunks of trees, so stumps were much higher than those left behind today.
Connector Trail 0.3 km to High Trail - Strenuous
The strenuous Connector Trial will link you to the Tantalus View Lookout Trail. Your
efforts will be rewarded with a panoramic view of the Squamish Valley and the glaciated
Tantalus Range. Along the trail you will see a designated Wildlife Tree. Signposted with
yellow diamonds, wildlife trees provide nesting cavities, dens, roosts, hunting perches
and feeding sites for birds, mammals and amphibians.
Look for signs of wildlife activity in these trees but please do not disturb.
Thompson Trail 30 minutes to bottom (1
km) - Strenuous
Steep, rocky sections. Mountain biking not permitted
Norm Halvorson, a long-time Squamish resident, had this trail constructed in memory of
Pres Thompson who helped log this area in the 1960s. From the Brohm Lake circuit, the
Thompson Trail drops steeply to the Tenderfoot Creek Hatchery. The hatchery contributes
Chinook, Coho and steelhead to the commercial, sport and native food fisheries of British
Columbia. Views of the Tantalus Range provide a spectacular backdrop as you descend from
Brohm Lake to the Cheakamus Valley.
Brohm Creek Trail 2 km return - Easy
Once a logging road, this trail follows Brohm Creek to the highway. The slopes above
the creek, logged in the 1960s, are currently being managed for a harvest in the 2040s.
This stand has been spaced, with some juvenile trees being cut so the remaining trees have
less competition for water, nutrients, and sunlight as they grow.
High Trail 2.4 km - Moderate to Strenuous
Along this trail, youll see evidence of past logging practices together with
current silvicultural treatments. Watch for old machine parts, cables, gears, and other
equipment used in early logging along the sides of the path. South of the Tantalus View
trailhead, youll also see areas covered with slash, or the fallen trees
that have been cut during juvenile spacing treatments. These trees have been cut so the
remaining trees have less competition for water, nutrients, and sunlight. This trail also
offers views of the Tantalus Mountain Range.
Tantalus View Trail 0.2 km - Strenuous
Leading west off the High Trail, this short path takes you to a lookout and stunning
views of the Tantalus Mountain range and the Squamish Valley. The Tantalus icefields are
among the largest in North America. The open ridge at the top is dominated by Lodgepole
pine, a tree that is well adapted to dry sites and low nutrient soils.
Cheakamus Loop Trail 1.6 km - Moderate to Strenuous
This challenging trail follows an old logging road through a mixed coniferous and
deciduous forest. Watch for evidence of other logging roads abandoned after logging
stopped in the 1940s. Most of them are overgrown with red alder.
Cheakamus means place of the fishing weir in the language of the Squamish
People and refers to the nearby river. Two viewpoints along the trail look out over the
Cheakamus River Valley.
Alder Trail 1 km to Bridge Trail Junction - Moderate
On this lush trail you will see evidence of past logging practices, such as stumps and
cables remaining from the 1946 harvest. Many of the stumps are scarred from a slash-burn
fire that was used to clear debris after the harvest. Red alder is the dominant tree in
this forest, as it is one of the first trees to appear after an area has been disturbed.
Alder helps to enrich the soil for the plants that follow them by combining with a
bacteria to "fix" nitrogen in the soil.
Rock Bluff Loop
Trail Approx 0.5 km - Moderate
- Mountain biking
Along this short trail loop you will see some of the common plants in a second growth
coastal western hemlock forest. Watch for large Douglas-fir trees which grow particularly
well in these dry areas. Lodgepole pine trees, often crooked and bushy in shape, also
occur along this trail.