BC’s Outdoor Recreation Council will apply to the provincial government for an initial $10 million contribution to a BC Trail Fund and is asking for letters of support from trail organizations or businesses across BC to include with their proposal.
The fund would provide for the development and maintenance of publicly accessible hiking trails throughout the province.
“British Columbia has more than 44,000 kilometers of officially recognized hiking trails that are visited by millions of local residents and visitors each year,” the proposal reads. “The development and maintenance of these trails and the rest of our outdoor recreation infrastructure rely heavily on grassroots support from more than two hundred community-based recreation groups who report increasing levels of burnout and have limited access to funding to support their work, particularly for the improvement of hiking trails.”
If the government were to provide the initial $10 million endowment fund, ORC would turn to corporations, individuals, and foundations for ongoing funding.
The Council began working with the provincial Trail Advisory Board several years ago to review reliable funding for BC trail maintenance. The foundation model was decided as the best option.
The goals of the Trail Fund are:
• Preservation and improvement of the existing network of recreational trails.
• Improving the quality of the existing recreational trail network or user experience, including safety improvements, signage, wayfinding and access barriers.
• Depending on the financing approval, new path and recreational infrastructure projects.
The fund will prioritize a number of criteria related to the Trails strategy for BC:
• Indigenous support, participation and respect for indigenous values.
• Cooperation in the planning, development and maintenance of hiking trails.
• Encouraging diverse and inclusive participation in trail-based recreation.
• More opportunities for physical activity for all ability levels.
• Sustainability and environmental protection.
• Contribution to rural development and community-based tourism opportunities.
Any organization can submit a letter of support. For example, the Meadowbrook Community Association, a registered corporation with over 100 members whose constitutional purpose is “to preserve and improve the Meadowbrook and Woods Corner areas for local residents and other recreational users,” recently sent a letter of support. The two areas are rural areas just east of the city of Kimberley.
“Like many nonprofit groups, the MCA has found it difficult to raise the funds needed to develop and maintain the trail networks,” the letter reads. “The BC Trail Fund is needed by everyone who cares about hiking trails and recreation in BC, as well as the many businesses and advocates trying to grow BC’s outdoor recreation economy.”
If your organization is working on trail maintenance or development, the ORC would appreciate a letter of support by April 15, 2022. You can send it to [email protected]
READ: Kimberley and other Kootenay communities receive grants for Trails projects
READ: Electric Bikes on Mountain Trails in BC OK
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