Last Chance to Save Mt. Erskine - Manzanita Ridge Connector Trail

We have a very short window of opportunity to save a well-loved trail on Salt Spring, and if we don’t act, now, it will soon be forever split in two. Walkers, hikers, runners, adults and kids all love Mount Erskine’s trails with their stunning views of beautiful forest. Accessible from Toynbee Road, Collins Road, and Trustees Trail, they all interconnect on public land. Or so we thought!

6 Km Trail Connects Collins and Toynbee Roads

We now know that the short connector between the Conservancy’s Manzanita Ridge Nature Reserve and Mt. Erskine Provincial Park is on private land, and there is no alternative for a safe trail. This land is part of a strata that will soon be developed. It’s quite possible that a future owner will build a house right on the existing trail, which most people now believe is public land.

Mushrooms on the Property

The Salt Spring Island Conservancy acquired Manzanita Ridge Nature Reserve from Martin Williams in 2003, and two years later it fundraised to buy the centrepiece of Mt. Erskine Provincial Park in partnership with BC Parks and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Martin wanted to protect the old growth trees on his 160-acre forest lot, but he also wanted to establish the forest trail that people have been able to access for decades between Toynbee and Collins Roads—a distance of almost 6 km.

Purple Triangle Shows the Trail Connector

We have to secure this gap in the trail to preserve this wonderful, highly used trail. If we fail to do this, we will no longer have a connection between Manzanita Ridge and Mt. Erskine Provincial Park, as the adjacent land is much too steep for a safe trail. We’ve lost so many trails on Salt Spring over the years. We cannot afford to lose this one too.

Trail Encompasses Rocky Outcrops and Many Pine Trees

In addition to securing the trail corridor, incorporating this land into Mt. Erskine Provincial Park will provide the park with several additional beautiful viewpoints and potential picnic sites. The forest here is varied with many pine trees, as well as stands of Coastal Douglas Fir and arbutus. As a trail already exists on this piece of land, no new trail construction would be required.

Because this acquisition is included as one of the goals in the management plan for Mt. Erskine Provincial Park, BC Parks has had a professional appraisal of the land, contracted with the landowner to buy it, and will pay for the survey and some of the legal costs. But the money to buy the land must come from us. The property has been professionally appraised at $235,000, and we estimate that additional costs will add another almost $9,000 to what we must come up with. Note that BC Parks is legally obliged to pay no less and no more than the appraised value of any land it buys.

The government’s commitment to this project is so strong that the BC Parks Foundation is now receiving donations and providing tax receipts. To acquire this land we must raise $243,700.

Please make your donation by:

mail to BC Parks Foundation, #1550-625 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC V6C 2T6
credit card or EFT payment, online at bcparksfoundation.ca, calling or emailing at 604-343-3975 or gifts@bcparksfoundation.ca.

In all cases, be sure to specify that the donation is for the “Mt Erskine Park Trail Connection Fundraiser” and include your contact information for your charitable receipt.

Generations to come will thank us for ensuring that these two beautiful pieces of land stay connected.


November 30, 2020 6:35 PM

Community Comments

  • Avatar marymarymary says:

    How much land is available for $235,000? How is the fund raising going? Could the segment with the trail be severed from the larger portion? Lots of questions, despite your compelling and thorough description of the situation.