Okanagan filmmaker producing a documentary

Filmmaker Erick Thompson is producing a documentary that will help share the story of the HBC Heritage Trail.

Okanagan filmmakers Erick Thompson (shown on the HBC Trail in 2016) is producing a documentary that will help share the story of the HBC Heritage Trail. Photo courtesy of Erin Trainer

Okanagan-based filmmaker Erick Thompson is producing a documentary that will help share the story of the HBC Heritage Trail.

Originally a First Nations route for hunting and trade, the HBC Trail played a key role in British Columbia’s early development. Since 2009, significant progress has been made in re-opening this historic fur trail over the Cascades. Much of the volunteer work has been coordinated by Hope Mountain Centre.

“By sharing this story, we hope to encourage others to help protect and preserve this historic trail,” said Thompson.

In 2016, Thompson and his wife Erin Trainer hiked the 74-kilometre HBC Heritage Trail section between Hope and Tulameen in four days. That experience inspired the couple to produce a documentary focusing on the trail and its history.

The production crew is planning to cover the HBC Heritage Trail in five days beginning in mid-August. They will also meet up with a group from Fort Langley National Historic Site, who are planning a one-day re-enactment horseback ride in July 2017. The completed documentary will be entered in film festivals and eventually shared on social media.

Hope Mountain Centre program director Kelly Pearce is excited by the prospect of his group’s efforts gaining a wider audience.

“I think it’s a great idea, because capturing the scenic beauty in the film will really help to get peoples’ imaginations fired up,” said Pearce.

Dozens of volunteers have given hundreds of hours of hard work to improving the HBC Trail for public enjoyment. In particular, Penticton resident Harley Hatfield worked during the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s to relocate the trail and have it protected from disturbance.

Thompson, a former TV news anchor and reporter, has created several shows and feature segments on a variety of topics. In 2009, he produced an award-winning TV news series called Islanders in Nepal. He shot the project on location during a three-week trek.

The producers have started a GoFundMe campaign to generate funds for the project which can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/HBCTrailDocumentary