One of the best-loved parks on the island is becoming much less user friendly. Hikers, mountain bikers, birders, equestrians, and dog walkers have all happily used the trail network in Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park since it was first established in 2004. The heart of that network was a multi-use loop trail now partially decommissioned. In addition, a metal grid bridge has been removed and a new, narrow, pedestrian-only bridge with steps has been constructed over a creek by the bay. This eliminates access to equestrians and poses an obstacle for some walkers and bikers. Then there are the swales, a series of deep ditches, constructed on another portion of trail, which make safe passage difficult and probably impossible in the rainy season. These changes, all undertaken without consultation with those most likely to be affected, are a consequence of remediation work in the park.
No one disputes that the plan to restore wetlands and control watercourses is a worthy park management initiative. What is troubling is the lack of dialogue, or opportunity for community input regarding the impacts of that work. Little serious attempt seems to have been made by BC Parks to find ways to meet the concerns of park users.
In spite of hours and hours of on site research and recommendations for alternate trail routes by one user group, BC Parks management does not seem inclined to listen. This is disrespectful to a community that raised more than a million dollars to help purchase the Burgoyne Bay lands, enabling their rescue from the industrial logging operations of the Texada Land Company. Burgoyne, not surprisingly, occupies a special place in our hearts, symbolizing one of the finest accomplishments of community spirit.
Is it too much to ask, then, that BC Parks honour the principles and commitments of their own Management Plan, which details and promotes recreational activities through multi-use trails in the park.
For more information:
Patricia Lockie (250) 537-1116
Salt Spring Trail Riders
Photo credit: Jen Joy Middleton