I’m lucky that Lake O’Hara, arguably one of the world’s finest hiking destinations, is just one hour’s drive from my home. I head up to the region at least a couple of times a year, but in the last two years have spent more time there working for a client who required photographic essays of every trail around Lake O’Hara.

Of course, the magnificent scenery is what most impresses visitors to Lake O’Hara, but the quality and upkeep of the trail system is also notable. Much of the credit for maintenance can be credited to the Lake O’Hara Trails Club (LOTC). And so when I was approached to create panels for information boards at Le Relais Day Shelter I was more than happy to do so. In addition to writing and supplying photography each panel needed to be interchangeable, allowing for future changes, such as posting of the summer speakers’ series schedule.

Lake O'Hara information board

The following text tells the history of the Lake O’Hara Trails Club:

Lake O’Hara Trails Club (LOTC) is a non-profit organization managed by a volunteer Board of Directors. LOTC operates in the Lake O’Hara area of Yoho National Park in co-operation with Parks Canada and with support and contributions from Lake O’Hara Lodge.

In 1949, LOTC was established by George K.K. (Tommy) Link to bring about co-operation between the National Parks of Canada and those individuals who, moved by a deep love for the beauties of the mountain areas of western Canada, volunteered their efforts to create a system of trails in the Lake O’Hara area. Through the work of volunteers led by Tommy Link and Carson Simpson, an extensive network of excellent trails was created for use by hikers, climbers, artists and nature lovers. Many of today’s trails were developed by these early hikers. LOTC was originally dedicated to the making, improving and maintenance of these trails.

In 1980 LOTC was registered as a non-profit organization. This status allows for the issuance of a tax receipt for donations. At the time of non-profit registration, LOTC’s stated goals expanded to include the additional duties of providing information to O’Hara area visitors and supplying trail maps. LOTC also publishes historical material concerning O’Hara and to ensure an enduring interest in the work of its founders so that their significant contribution may be recognized, and their work continued.

Today, LOTC continues to be dedicated to the improvement and maintenance of the extensive trail system in the Lake O’Hara area and to the preservation of its history and the stories of its early trail builders and users. The club also works to develop an appreciation for the natural and cultural history of the Lake O’Hara area. It supports an evening speaker series at Le Relais in collaboration with Parks Canada; has re-published the book Tommy and Lawrence: The Ways and Trails of Lake O’Hara, an important account of the area’s history; and has made financial contributions to wildlife monitoring projects.

For more information on the LOTC go to www.lotc.ca. If you are planning on visiting Lake O’Hara, you’ll need to make reservations well in advance through reservation.pc.gc.ca. The Gem Trek Lake O’Hara Map is an ideal companion for hiking in the area.