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

Gulf Islands Regional Trails Plan Implementation

The CRD Board approved a conceptual plan for future trails in the Gulf Islands in 2018. Two rounds of engagement were completed for the GIRTP including open houses and information booths on each island and online comment forms.

The plan sets a general route for a regional trail on each of Mayne, Salt Spring, North Pender, South Pender, Galiano and Saturna Islands. These regional trails will be designed and built in a phased approach over the long-term. The phased approach will see an initial section of trail, generally 2-5 km, built one at a time on each island, as funding and design are available. The first Gulf Island Regional Trail will be the initial 2.3 km section of the Mayne Island Regional Trail. Detailed planning for the other regional trails will occur as set out in the Gulf Islands Regional Trails Plan (GIRTP).

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 was 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. Initial trail work is set to start in 2022. For more information and updates, check the Mayne Island Regional Trail Capital Project Page.

Southern Gulf Islands Regional Trail Design Project

As per the GIRTP, 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 be ready when the time comes for construction of these trails. In 2019, the CRD received notice that it was a successful applicant and subsequently contracted Herold Engineering to undertake the Southern Gulf Islands Regional Trails Design project. It was completed in early 2021.

Trail design work is still required for the initial section of regional trail identified for Salt Spring Island, as it was not part of this project.

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