Which trail would you rather use?
Can you guess which trail is maintained by private residents/industry and which is maintained by the Province of BC?
On the surface, removal of a trail designation may appear to be a negative impact on recreation and may cause concern for some trail users however upon review of the background materials, it is the opposite in this instance, as removal of the trail designation will allow for appropriate management that reflects the current use.
The Columbia & Western Rail Trail is a magnificent, provincial asset and as such should be shared by all users in the province, including the local residents and families that have had their farms and principle homesteads along the trail for over 30 years with the trail as their only access.
In the 1990’s when the train tracks were removed, these folks were guaranteed legal access via the rail grade by the CPR and Department of Highways – this affects over 50+ property owners along the trail.
The CWRT is in a region that is rich in natural resources which the Province of BC’s economy is heavily reliant upon. The logging companies provide jobs for local residents to earn a living and support their families, which keeps the local economy going — so instead of treating the logging companies with contempt, why don’t we work in the spirit of collaboration with community, residents, industry and recreationalists to better manage the land base that we all share.
The Province of BC recognizes that this portion of rail corridor contains engineered structures, steel trestles, hard rock tunnels, major culverts and retaining walls that require management beyond typical trail standards, and that appropriate management that considers the infrastructure and current use is required.
As there is no legal recreation/transportation trail designation that allows on-highway vehicles to access trails, the Province must change the trail designation to accommodate current use to allow locals to access their properties and support access for industrial activity that is vital to the local economy, while allowing public access and recreational use to remain the same.
They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words, and as you can see in the pictures above, the privately managed trail is in pristine condition, making it a safer and more enjoyable experience… so perhaps this is a dawning of a new day, that allows industry to utilize the land to extract the resources, while keeping access open for all users and residents.
Would you rather have a trail that is usable and shared by everyone, or a trail that is in such poor condition that nobody can use it? Let’s all work together for the betterment of the trail!
Please join ATVBC in supporting an administrative transfer of the CWRT to ensure management is appropriate for the current use.
Please send your comments and support for removal of the CWRT trail designation to keep the rail corridor and its historical infrastructure safe and accessible for all users, to Minister Donaldson at [email protected]
MORE IN-DEPTH DETAILS
1Quad Riders ATV Association of BC (ATVBC), Letter of Response RE: CWRT Stakeholder Engagement
2Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development, Stakeholder Engagement RE: CWRT
3Deverney Engineering Services Ltd, CWRT Letter of Support RE Cancellation of Trail Designation
4Deverney Engineering Services Ltd, Letter to Forest Practices Board, Management of Recreation under FRPA
5Rail Trail Inventory of Culverts, Retaining Walls & Bridges
SOME INTERESTING FACTS
To clarify the past and current designation status of the CWRT:
- Only the BC government (FLNRORD) can
define trail use and assign usage designation
- The legal designation for CWRT is “undesignated recreation trail” — undesignated trails have no use restriction
- The CWT has always been undesignated (for over 30 years)
- No other organization or interest group in BC or Canada has the ability to impose their preferred designation on a road or trail. Usage is only dictated by the legal designation assigned by FLNRORD