It’s no secret that we are living in strange times. Much of the economy has been stumbling because of the pandemic, and, sadly, many community members are either unemployed or working from home. What these people almost invariably have in common is more time to spend as they wish, often with their families. And what a great number of islanders are opting to do is to go for walks/hikes on Salt Spring’s wonderful trails.
Most of us try to focus on the positive, and I think we would all agree that the most positive thing about living on Salt Spring is the natural beauty all around us. In the past few months we’re seeing more people on our trails than ever before. There isn’t a park or nature reserve on the island that isn’t being visited by all kinds of people eager to enjoy what nature has to offer. And on Salt Spring, nature has a lot to offer—lovely shoreline and beaches, varied forest, beautiful views, clean air, more birds than we’ve seen for years—and all of this can be experienced from our many trails.
COVID-19 has shown that we can’t have too many trails and parks, and that we must have variety—something for everyone. When I climb Mt. Erskine, I see whole families, young mothers carrying very young babies, kids looking for fairy doors and special mushrooms, runners training for their next races, older hikers moving more slowly but, like everyone else, enjoying the moss-covered rocks and lush fir and arbutus forest. Oh yes, and the stunning views.
The Salt Spring Island Trail and Nature Club has been fundraising for “The Missing Link”—a trail connection on Mt. Erskine. It’s a crucial link in an almost 6 kilometre trail that runs from Collins Road to Toynbee Road. The Missing Link also contains some terrific viewpoints that make excellent picnic spots.
Even with so many economic problems, 200 islanders have contributed generously already to ensure our trail connection. With the donations already received and promised, we’re 60 percent there. But we have only one more month to raise another $70,000 to buy this piece of land. That’s a bit like climbing up to the top of Mt. Erskine: the first part is always a whole bunch easier than the last.
Many of you reading this article already use the trails on Mt. Erskine. I regularly count more than a dozen cars parked at the trail access at the end of Trustees Trail, and many others access the trails from Collins and Toynbee Roads. If each of you who use these trails were to donate even $25, we’d easily reach our goal of buying the land, and you’d get a tax receipt too.
Every donation counts, especially when we’are trying to convince larger donors such as foundations that our project has wide support. When these larger donors see that kind of tangible enthusiasm from so many, they’re more apt to donate too, and often more generously than most of us can.
So if you’d be willing to help us with a donation to “the missing link” on Mt. Erskine, please visit the BC Parks Foundation website. Press the donate button and complete the form. But be sure to specify that your donation is going to the “Mount Erskine Park Trail Connection Fundraiser.”
If you have any questions, please send them to me. And thank you for supporting our trails and our natural environment. We really appreciate the generosity of our caring community.