The Capital Regional District has developed a Regional Trails Plan for Galiano, Mayne, North and South Pender, Salt Spring and Saturna Islands.

Gulf Islands Regional Trails Plan Implementation

In 2016-2017, the CRD undertook a public planning process to identify routes for new regional trails on the Gulf Islands. The Gulf Islands Regional Trails Management Plan (GIRTP) was approved by the CRD Board in January 2018.

About the Gulf Islands Regional Trails Plan

The GIRTP identifies a conceptual route for a regional trail on each of Salt Spring, Mayne, North and South Pender, Galiano, and Saturna Islands. The intent is to develop these new regional trails within the surveyed road dedications and, where possible, separated from motor vehicle traffic. The regional trails will be classified as rural bike and pedestrian trails.

The routes will generally connect ferry terminals to key destinations such as parks or commercial hubs, and over the long term the network of trails on the islands will benefit the region by providing more opportunities for recreation and active transportation. With 50 kilometers of new trail proposed, implementation of the plan will be a long term initiative.

The initial section of the Mayne Island Regional Trail is identified as the top priority for development and getting design work for the initial sections of the other four trails is a second priority, so these projects are “shelf ready” when the time comes in the future for their construction.

Mayne Island Regional Trail Project

In 2016-2017, the CRD undertook a trail design project for a 2.3 kilometer section of regional trail, as the first step in a demonstration project that will assess challenges that might arise in designing and developing regional trails on the Gulf Islands and paths to success.

As per the GIRTP, in 2019 the CRD applied for an Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program grant to assist with development of phase 1 of the Mayne Island Regional Trail. CRD received the grant in 2020.

Southern Gulf Islands Regional Trail Design Project

As per the GIRTP, in 2018, the CRD applied for a BC Rural Dividend Program grant to develop designs for the initial sections of regional trails in the southern Gulf Islands (North Pender, Galiano, and Saturna Islands). The intent is to have “shelf ready” designs for the future when the time comes for construction of these trails. In spring 2019, the CRD received notice that it was a successful applicant.

Following a request for proposal process, the CRD contracted Herold Engineering to undertake the Southern Gulf Islands Regional Trails Design project. The 6 month project began in January 2020.

As an initial step in the project, surveying of the conceptual route was undertaken in March 2020. The survey work, which will identify the extent of the road dedication, elevations, and challenge areas, among other things, is needed for the base mapping for the project. Staking, flagging, and painted control points (on the roads), are all part of the survey work.

Funding for Regional Trail Work

In 2016, the CRD Board approved $200,000 per year dedicated funding for regional trail work in the Gulf Islands. These funds continue to build, with interest, until adequate funds are available for a project and then rebuild until enough exists for the next project. The GIRTP identifies the need to seek external grant funding to supplement CRD funds for both planning and development of the regional trails in the Gulf Islands.

© Image courtesy of Danica Rice