I attended the first Open House for the Draft Trails Strategy in Nanaimo last night with approx 90 other folks. John Hawkings (from Squamish), the Manager of Trails for MoTSA gave a PowerPoint presentation on the Strategy and answered questions as he worked through the document. Here are my thoughts after attending the meeting:
[HTML_REMOVED]#8226; Huge turnout by the motorized recreational segment (approx 70[HTML_REMOVED]#37; of the turnout). Many ATV[HTML_REMOVED]#8217;ers were there stating that they want access to trails and a guaranteed recreational land base. Does this mean they will try to adopt trails that are currently [HTML_REMOVED]#8220;non-motorized[HTML_REMOVED]#8221; if no one else adopts them?
[HTML_REMOVED]#8226; Decent turnout by MTB[HTML_REMOVED]#8217;ers. Approx 15 people from the Nanaimo club, Arrowsmith club, United Riders of Cumberland and the Campbell River club. But our numbers were definitely shadowed by the motorized segment.
[HTML_REMOVED]#8226; The remainder of the crowd were hikers, equestrians, naturalist types etc.
[HTML_REMOVED]#8226; Re: Liability. Discussion of adopting [HTML_REMOVED]#8220;Inherent Risk[HTML_REMOVED]#8221; legislation similar to some regions in the US or modifying the OLA. As it stands you will be required to have Third Party Liability coverage in place in order to adopt a trail (which would be held by the Club/Regional District/Municipality). Trails on Private land will require Fire Protection Insurance coverage as well.
[HTML_REMOVED]#8226; Discussions on the Resource Road Act and potential reduced access to trails as Forest Companies deactivate roads. No definite answers provided (more of an ATV issue imo)
[HTML_REMOVED]#8226; Discussions on Tourism re: Trail Stewardship vs Dollars. The key to this strategy is a [HTML_REMOVED]#8220;Sustainable[HTML_REMOVED]#8221; trail network. If the trail system cannot sustain the tourism, then that will be considered at the local level.
[HTML_REMOVED]#8226; There will be a Provincial Trail Advisory Body which will provide advice on implementation of the Trails Strategy.
[HTML_REMOVED]#8226; A trust fund may be developed to provide funding for maintenance/projects. This money may come from Tourism operators, Forest Companies, Gas Tax, etc.
[HTML_REMOVED]#8226; The trail adoption process will be driven by Clubs/Organizations at the local level, and will be facilitated by the government agencies. This is not a [HTML_REMOVED]#8220;top down[HTML_REMOVED]#8221; process.
[HTML_REMOVED]#8226; The process is unrealistic for small clubs i.e. North Vancouver Island Bike club has 5 active members who struggle just to put on the annual DH/XC race in Port Alice, never mind dealing with this bureaucratic nightmare.
[HTML_REMOVED]#8226; Once the process is finished, the majority of trails will likely not have been adopted and will continue to be considered [HTML_REMOVED]#8220;Unauthorized[HTML_REMOVED]#8221;.
[HTML_REMOVED]#8226; There won[HTML_REMOVED]#8217;t be an allocation of money to every trail group, this strategy is not a cash grab. Grants will still have to be applied for etc.
[HTML_REMOVED]#8226; This will be a slow process. Think 10 years before it is fully implemented.
So my understanding is that the new process is the same as the old process, it just seems that now the agencies are on board for facilitating the process. At the moment there is no funding in place to help clubs with the process, so don[HTML_REMOVED]#8217;t expect this to be a cash grab.
So my big concern after leaving the meeting: If my club doesn[HTML_REMOVED]#8217;t adopt our trails, does that mean someone else can? i.e. ATV club?