The Outdoor Recreation Council of BC will be asking the provincial government for an initial $10 million contribution to the BC Trail Fund and is seeking letters of support from trail organizations or businesses across BC to include in their proposal.
The fund would help build and maintain publicly accessible trails across the province.
“British Columbia has more than 44,000 kilometers of officially recognized trails that are visited by millions of locals and visitors each year,” the proposal states. “The development and maintenance of these trails and the rest of our outdoor recreation infrastructure is highly dependent on the grassroots support of over two hundred community recreation groups who are reporting increased burnout and facing limited access to funding to support their work, especially for trail improvements. .”
If the government provided the initial endowment fund of $10 million, 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 find reliable funding to maintain BC’s trails. The staffing model was decided to be the best option.
The objectives of the Trail Fund are to:
• Maintain and improve the existing network of recreational trails.
• Improve the quality of the existing recreational trail network or the user experience, including improving safety, signage, wayfinding and barriers to access.
• Funding permitting, new trail and recreation infrastructure projects.
The fund will prioritize a number of criteria related to the Trails Strategy for BC:
• Support, involvement and respect for Aboriginal values.
• Collaboration in the planning, development and maintenance of trails.
• Promote diverse and inclusive participation in recreational activities on the trails.
• Increase opportunities for physical activity for all skill levels.
• Sustainability and environmental stewardship.
• Contribution to rural development and community tourism opportunities.
Any organization can submit a letter of support. For example, the Meadowbrook Community Association, an incorporated society of more than 100 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 Support. Both areas are rural areas directly east of Kimberley City.
“Like many non-profit groups, MCA has found it difficult to acquire the necessary funds to develop and maintain the trail networks,” their letter reads. “The BC Trail Fund is needed by everyone who cares for trails and recreational assets in BC and the many businesses and advocates who seek to grow BC’s outdoor recreation economy.
If your organization works on trail maintenance or development, the ORC would appreciate a letter of support by April 15, 2022. You can send it to [email protected]