Progress has been made in the effort to reopen a popular hiking trail in Edworthy Park thanks in part to the contributions of volunteers, trail experts and City of Calgary Parks.

The Douglas Fir Trail, in a forested area on the south bank of the Bow River, has been closed to the public for more than a year over safety concerns.

“During the rainfall of 2013 there was some substantial damage from the water and that was kind of the start of the closure of the trail,” said Dan Borslein, project manager with Calgary Parks.

According to Borslein, infrastructure along the trail deteriorated over the years including bridges exposed to the elements. “There was a bridge that existed here, about 30 years old, and the structural columns underneath the bridge gave away because ice built up and pushed against the bridge,” said Borslein. “From above it looked safe but underneath it was structurally compromised.”

Volunteers have been instrumental in helping City of Calgary Parks rebuild infrastructure along the trail.

“We’ve had about a month and a half of volunteerism up-to-date and we’re looking at another two months worth of volunteer work before we can target opening,” said Borslein. “We have had such a really great showing of volunteers from this community. We need that support to make this happen.”

Scott Fehr, a teacher who spent a considerable amount of time on the trail prior to the closure, was among the volunteers helping out on Thursday. “It’s like a piece of the wilderness right in the middle of Calgary.” Fehr says it was his curiosity regarding the project’s process that led him to volunteer.

“I’ve been checking the City of Calgary website for quite a few months now to see when it was going to reopen and what the plan was to redevelop the trail.” said Fehr. “I saw that they were looking for volunteers so I thought that this was my chance to give back and help out reopening the trail.”

Thursday was Fehr’s first day of volunteering on the trail and he has already signed up to help next week.

David Mills, executive director of the Calgary Mountain Bike Alliance, has been providing his expertise on trail construction to the project with a focus on sustainability and reducing the impact on the environment.

“We do our best to work with (the landscape) instead of against it,” said Mills. “Planning is incredibly important. We always try to get a sense of what the land wants us to do.”

“You don’t want to fight Mother Nature. She’s always going to win.”

Mother Nature has had an impact on the rehabilitation project’s progress. Borslein says spring rainfall, the recent heatwave and wildfire smoke have slowed the restoration of the trail.

To volunteer your time to the project, or for additional information regarding the trail’s progress, visit City of Calgary - Douglas Fir Trail.

With files from CTV's Kevin Fleming