The Capital Regional District has developed a Regional Trails Plan for Galiano, Mayne, North and South Pender, Salt Spring and Saturna Islands.
The finalized plan for the Gulf Islands Regional Trails was approved by the CRD Board on March 14, 2018 and reviewed by the Regional Parks Committee on February 21, 2018.
- sets a future direction for 5 new regional trails for pedestrians and cyclists, totalling 50 km
- regional trails that connect ferry terminals to key destinations such as parks or commercial hubs
- regional trails as main routes to which other trails can connect, creating a wider network
- guidance for trail development priorities and management
- a phased approach for trail development, with initial sections totalling approximately 20 km
An integrated network of trails on the islands will benefit the regional district by providing opportunities for recreation and active transportation, and will support eco-tourism. The CRD will seek partnerships and grants to help fund development of each of these regional trails over time. The first priority is to construct an initial section of the Mayne Island Regional Trail, subject to funding, as a demonstration project.
The Gulf Islands Regional Trails Plan will help foster tourism, recreation, active transportation, and economic development on the islands by setting a direction for the development of a regional trail on each of the six islands. The Regional Trails Plan complements the Experience the Gulf Islands initiative, and once developed, the trails will provide infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists to travel between ferry terminals and some key recreation, tourism and commercial areas on the islands.
The CRD thanks all who were involved in the planning process. The public engagement process included First Nations, several other government agencies, key stakeholders, island residents and the wider public.
The public engagement process included an initial phase, in March 2017, that gathered information and solicited ideas and suggestions before CRD began to write the plan and a second phase, between July and September 2017, to seek input on the draft Gulf Islands Regional Trails Plan.
Through a comment form relating to the draft plan, the CRD heard that there was strong support for the plan. Eighty-four percent of respondents supported the proposed policies; 78% supported the proposed trail routes; and 73% supported the proposed phased approach for implementation.
The Board approved 2012-2021 CRD Regional Parks Strategic Plan includes an action that CRD staff “In partnership with other public agencies, local government and private landowners, initiate planning for the regional trails system on Salt Spring Island and Southern Gulf Islands.”
Initial planning for a system of trails on the Southern Gulf Islands was undertaken in 2013-2014. Through this process a multitude of public suggestions for local, regional, and national park trails were identified. This information provided a starting point to inform the development of the Gulf Islands Regional Trails Plan in 2017.
Experience the Gulf Islands Initiative
The intent of the Experience the Gulf Islands (ETGI) initiative is to enhance the social, environmental and economic sustainability of the islands. This is an initiative of the Southern Gulf Islands and Salt Spring Island Economic Development Commissions. One component of the ETGI initiative is a connected pedestrian and cycling trail system on the islands. The ETGI Concept Plan supports a coordinated approach to the various local and regional trail planning projects. Read more >>
Mayne Island Demonstration Project
The Gulf Islands Regional Trails Plan recommends that the 2.3 km Mayne Island Regional Trail demonstration project be the first segment of regional trail to be developed. The detailed planning for this demonstration project has been underway over the past two years. Construction of the demonstration trail will occur once adequate funding is secured; external grants as well as internal (CRD) funding will be needed.
This project will identify challenges and opportunities and will be used to inform the development of the other routes in the Gulf Islands Regional Trails Plan.
© Image courtesy of Danica Rice