Final Report on Vancouver Island's Salmon Brewster Equine Campsites & Trail Corridor Project
The North Vancouver Island (NVI) Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of BC is pleased to present the Final Report on a project that was many years in the making.
The Back Country Horsemen of British Columbia – North Vancouver Island Chapter (BCHBC-NVI) introduced the Salmon Brewster Equine Campsites and Trail Corridor Project as the first Crown land formally designated equine-friendly public recreation campsites on Vancouver Island. This is a significant accomplishment and will be joining the other provincial equine trails and camping areas such as those at Manning Park, Cascade Recreation Area, Lundbom, Stikine, Barriere, Merritt, and the extraordinary USA network of equine friendly camping and trails sites.
The development of the campsites and trail corridor received a Section 57 authorization from Duncan Mactavish, Recreation Officer with Recreation Sites and Trails BC, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. Biological and archaeological assessments were completed and reviewed by appropriate first nations. Comments from the biologist and first nations have assisted in identifying trail corridor rehabilitation and development needs. Approval was received from Agricultural Land Commission (ALR) for a small section of the trail located with the ALR. Letters of support were received from community organizations including Horse Council of BC, Campbell River Trail Riders, Campbell River Adventurers hiking club and Can Adventure Education Ltd as well as the regional government representative, Strathcona Regional District Director Gerald Whalley. BCHBC-NVI chapter members have worked collaboratively with these representatives since 2010 with the goal of legally establishing the Salmon Brewster trail corridor for future generations.
Since 2010, volunteer efforts have included the use of GPS technology to identify the trail corridor (approx. 40km on foot); and secured approximately $89,500 in in-kind and grant funding to construct and develop equine friendly public campsites at both ends of the trail corridor. Approximately 1000 volunteer hours has gone toward the establishment of the trail corridor and campsite development including GPS work, project management, site clearing, and fence and corral construction. Volunteers worked alongside contractors, conducted site visits with ministry personnel as required to ensure the campsite project development met all conditions of the funding agencies and regulatory requirements.
The BCHBC-NVI chapter members are well positioned and ready to oversee the next step, that is, the rehabilitation and development of the trail corridor. The rehabilitation of the trail will improve safety and access to the trail, thus promoting greater public use.
The Salmon Brewster Equine Campsite and Trail Corridor Project will increase visitors to the Campbell River and Sayward Valley areas, promoting tourism and producing incremental economic benefits. The trail corridor adds another back country activity for horse riders, and hikers to explore while other members of the family may enjoy other popular activities such as ATV, boating, and fishing.
Recreation Sites and Trails BC and the BC Backcountry Horsemen of BC will enter into a 10 year partnership agreement to operate and maintain the horse camps and trail corridor to wilderness standards.
The BCHBC will promote the Salmon Brewster Equine Campsite and Trail on the provincial website with links to BC Outdoor Recreation Council and it will be listed on the websites of BCHBC and Horse Council of BC. Permanent signage located at the campsites at both ends of the trail corridor will outline the principles of wilderness use by equestrians and the “Leave No Trace” guidelines endorsed by BCHBC, and used internationally. All partners will be acknowledged on these permanent signs.
The BCHBC-NVI chapter wishes to enthusiastically thank all those that helped this vision become a reality.
To download a PDF of the full project report, CLICK HERE.
To download a copy of the invitation to the official opening of this horse-friendly public recreation campsite (July 20, 2013) CLICK HERE.