The Outdoor Recreation Council of BC will be applying to the provincial government for an initial $10 million contribution to a BC Trail Fund, and is seeking letters of support from trail organizations or businesses across BC to include with their proposal.
The fund would provide for development and maintenance of publicly accessible trails throughout the province.
“British Columbia has more than 44,000 kilometres of officially recognized trails that receive visits from millions of locals and visitors each year,” the proposal says. “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 burnout and face limited access to funding to support their work, especially for trail improvements.”
If the government would provide the initial $10 million endowment fund, ORC would then approach corporations, individuals and foundations to provide ongoing funds.
The Council began working with the Provincial Trails Advisory Body several years ago to look at reliable funding to maintain BC’s trails. The endowment model was decided to be the best option.
The objectives for the Trail Fund are to:
• Maintain and enhance the existing recreational trail network.
• Improve the quality of the existing recreational trail network or user experience, including safety improvements, signage, wayfinding, and barriers to access.
• As funding permits, new trail and recreation infrastructure projects.
The fund will prioritize a number of criteria that ties in with the Trails Strategy for BC:
• Indigenous support, involvement and respect for Indigenous values.
• Collaboration in trail planning, development and maintenance.
• Fostering diverse and inclusive participation in trail-based recreation.
• Increasing opportunities for physical activities for all ability levels.
• Sustainability and environmental stewardship.
• Contribution to rural development and community-based tourism opportunities.
Any organization can submit a letter of support. For instance the Meadowbrook Community Association, an incorporated society of 100 plus members whose constitutional purpose is “To preserve and enhance the Meadowbrook and Woods Corner areas for residents and other recreational users” recently sent a letter of support. The two areas are rural areas directly east of the City of Kimberley.
“Like many non-profit groups, the MCA has found it challenging to acquire the funds needed to develop and maintain the trails networks,” their letter said. “The BC Trail Fund is needed by everyone who looks after trails and recreation assets in BC and by the many businesses and advocates who are seeking to grow BC’s outdoor recreation economy.”
If your organization works on maintaining or developing trails, the ORC would appreciate a letter of support by April 15, 2022. You can send it to email@example.com.