Vancouver Island Nature Trails Society volunteers work on refurbishing a trail.

EVERY – trail – CONNECTS

Southern Vancouver Island Nature Trails Society hopes to increase access to outdoor spaces

Wilderness is never far away in Greater Victoria. It’s such a familiar part of the landscape that it often goes unnoticed.

The outdoor community hopes to change that with an ambitious plan to share the joy of nature, and open the backwoods trail system to more users.

Enter the Southern Vancouver Island Nature Trails Society, also known by its acronym SVINTS.

Recognizing the region has an abundance of natural surface trails, the trails society wants to create an “epic network” of accessible multi discipline trails that animates locals and inspires tourists to revel in Greater Victoria’s backyard.

And while Greater Victoria has hundred of nature trails spanning thousands of hectares from Gowlland Tod Provincial Park to East Sooke, many are not coordinated or even connected to each other, said Daniel Cammiade, SVINTS executive director.

“It’s important for us to be out in these areas and that people realize what a special place we have and need to protect,” he said.

The first major project, which could take 10 years to complete, is to connect two large epic loops in the region.

The first will travel through Gowlland Tod Provincial Park into Hartland-Mt. Work Regional Park, then into the Thetis Lake Regional Park to connect back, together at Bear Mountain.

The second loop is much larger and would travel from Bear Mountain through the Sooke Hills to Leechtown and back using the Galloping Goose Trail.

The connections are important for a lot of good reasons: increased visitation to the parks, increased variety of trails for different users and environmental stewardship.

“This to create the most effective trail system we can to accommodate all users: hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers, dog walkers, horseback riders, commuting cyclists and families,” Cammiade said.

The second phase of the project would see more work with specific trail networks that the bigger loops connect with, such as those aimed directly to hikers, mountain bikers and horse riders.

“It’s not that the nature trails society is strictly about shared use or we are trying to get cycling trails in everywhere,” Cammiade said.

“It’s mostly about getting these two great big corridors to connect things together and to get these different users out to the areas.”

The  trails society was formed a year ago after Cammiade did extensive work on the Greater Victoria trail system through his professional work as a cartographer and writer.

He soon was in contact with EcoAsis, the new owners of Bear Mountain, who were interested in working with the outdoor recreational community.

The original plan was to connect the trails from Brentwood Bay to Leechtown and then he took it  a step further and made those connections into loops by using the Galloping Goose Trail in Sooke with some work he did with the South Island Mountain Bike Society.

The process, so far, has seen the trails society create steward ship agreements with B.C. Parks,  private land owners and municipalities. On Monday night, Cammiade and the society made a presentation to District of Sooke council.

Many of the trails that the society will work on already exist and require a little bushwhacking and levelling to put into use again with all of the weekend work done by volunteers. As for property acquisition, most of the land can be found in provincial and regional parks.

“I don’t think we should just be able to go out and use any part of the backwoods we want,” Cammiade pointed out. “We want – we need – to manage these area but at the same time still make sure sensitive plants and animals have enough room.”

For more on the work of SVINTS please email info@naturetrailssociety.com.

editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Just Posted

Man dies after fall from Johnson Street Bridge

Man climbed railing of the Johnson Street Bridge, lost his balance and fell into the water below

VicPD notify public of sexual assault with weapon in Esquimalt

Officers ask residents to be vigilant while investigation continues

Local fundraising initiative addresses tampon recall

Period Posse checking donations during 10-day campaign

VIATEC’s 2018 “Startup of the Year” heads to Vegas for global spotlight

Victoria-based boat security company Barnacle Systems set for Consumer Electronics Show

Surprise coming to elderly Esquimalt woman who had $1,100 stolen from purse

Man had bumped into her while she was shopping, next thing she knew, the money was gone

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Rescued B.C. cat with misshapen legs in need of forever home – with carpet

Mirielle was born with misshapen back legs and after a tough life on the streets, is looking for a forever home.

VIDEO: Craft growers will add to recreational market, cannabis producer says

Two B.C. men say their expertise in running small legal medical grow-ops a benefit to recreational market

World Sikh Organization demands Canada prove Sikh extremism is a threat

Sikh community says this is first time such extremism has been mentioned in federal terror-threat assessment

Risk of catching the flu increasing in B.C. this holiday season: BCCDC

Dr. Danuta Skowronski with the BC Centre for Disease Control says influenza will pick up during the holidays

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Most Read