The VI Spine Trail, linking people and communities on Vancouver Island, from Victoria in the south to Cape Scott on the northern tip.
VISTA shall collaborate with the stakeholders to create the VI Spine Trail, linking new and existing trails into a world-class, multi-use recreational facility the length of Vancouver Island.
The intent is to provide healthful recreation and adventure opportunities for citizens of British Columbia and to create a tourist destination, linking communities, and providing beneficial situations for local workers and for commercial entrepreneurship. Anticipated trail users include hikers, runners, mountain bikers and equestrians; however, not all sections of trail will be suitable for all user groups. The nature of the terrain may preclude some user types; in some jurisdictions/tenures (notably some Provincial Parks), hiking on foot is the only permitted use. VISTA will indicate on its website and other media the range of permitted trail uses for various sections of the Trail, but users will always be responsible for choosing a suitable mode, dependent also on their expertise.
How does the Trail Happen?
Since the Vancouver Island Spine Trail will be located across the diversity of land ownerships and and governmental jurisdictions, VISTA will tailor its approach to each of these partners, as follows:
Where the Spine Trail utilizes lands and rights-of- way regulated by provincial, regional or local governments, such as public roads, highways, municipal streets and Provincial Parks, users must follow the regulations for such lands and allow for motorized traffic in some cases. Provincial Park trails may not permit bicycles, equestrian use or allow dogs. Some of the communities affected will include Victoria, Lake Cowichan, Port Alberni, Cumberland, Campbell River, Woss, Port McNeill, Port Hardy and Holberg.
Crown land that is used for forestry under various tenure (licenses) is regulated by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO). On such Crown land, the Recreation Sites and Trails B.C. division administers regulations that allow VISTA to construct trails; some may be under specific sections (56 or 57) of the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA). VISTA will liaise with forest tenure holders during the planning, locating, clearing and maintenance of the Trail through their tenures. (Also see discussion of managed forest lands under Private Forest land, below.)
Since the VI Spine Trail is located across several traditional First Nations territories, VISTA is committed to consult with First Nations to ensure that the Trail respects the First Nations historical and cultural interests, and future priorities. VISTA assumes that the Trail will benefit citizens of First Nations with respect to employment and commercial opportunities. Initial trail work will be limited to trail location and flagging only, to permit planning and decision-making.
Regional districts are granted a regional planning function under the Local Government Act of B.C. Where the Spine Trail traverses Crown land, VISTA will negotiate with the appropriate regional district to ensure the Trail is coordinated to other regional trails and land use plans. VISTA will not own trail right-of- way; but will seek to include regional districts in any land-use agreements and act as the agent in planning, building and maintenance. The Spine Trail will become a regional recreational facility. VISTA will seek outdoors organizations to assist VISTA or be responsible for maintenance.
Where the Trail traverses private forest land, VISTA intends to negotiate terms of access for the Spine Trail. These lands, and Crown lands licensed by government to forestry companies, are part of the ‘managed forests’ of Vancouver Island, and trails through them will encounter similar conditions. VISTA considers these ‘working forests’ to be an integral part of the Vancouver Island landscape that the VI Spine Trail users will be able to explore.
On private forest lands, VISTA acknowledges the primacy of wood/fibre production and does not seek to impede the core business of landowners, nor seek any change in the status of private forest lands. VISTA believes in a collaborative and cooperative land management approach that integrates the primary objective of the landowner with the outdoor recreation objectives of the public.
Last updated: August 2016