Bowen Island Takes Responsibility for the Trails on Mount Gardner

After three years of hiking Mount Gardner, mapping the trails, and negotiating with the Province, The Rotary Club of Bowen Island — on behalf of the community — will sign an agreement with Recreation Sites and Trails BC. The official signing will take place in Collins Hall at an event beginning at 6:30 PM, Thursday, March 17. All who are interested are invited.

Participating in the signing is Tom Blackbird, the District Recreation Officer for this region. Blackbird’s office is in Chilliwack, and Bowen Island is on the westernmost verge of his district. Also, from the Province’s Sea-To-Sky office in Squamish is Tennessee Trent, Manager - Trails, Recreation Sites and Trails, for all of the Province of British Columbia.

Blackbird and Trent have asked to see some of the trails during this visit. Interested hikers are welcome to join the group on the mountain. The initial arrangements are still tentative, but the plan is that Blackbird and Trent will arrive from the mainland on a late morning ferry sailing. Sometime later a group will hike up the mountain starting at the Kiosk at the upper end of Laura Road. Probably the destination will be the North Summit.

Those wishing to participate in the hike should watch for updates, including up-to-the-minutes tweets on March 17. Note: this is not an escorted mountain hike. Anyone who joins the group must be an experienced hiker who is completely responsible for her/his own route-finding, gear (including appropriate clothing, food and water), and personal safety.

The Trails Agreement expects that the community will provide routine observation and maintenance of the trails. In return, the polygon of crown lands that include the trails will becomes designated a Recreation Site under Section 56 of the Forest and Range Act.

In 2014 the Undercurrent published a well-researched article on the Rotary Trails Project that described the conditions of the trails and the reasons and advantages for this community taking control of the recreational use of the mountain.

While the Municipality of Bowen Island is not in a position to be responsible for those trails, the trailheads, parking areas and kiosks are on municipal land. BIM Council recognized the economic benefits that result from visitors who travel to Bowen Island to hike, and the value of this resource for its citizens. Council has agreed that the municipality will continue to provide appropriate access.

The event at Collins Hall on March 17 will begin at 6:30 PM with a welcome to all visitors. There will be a short explanation of the agreement by some of the signing parties. This will be followed by the official signing. The remainder of the evening will be a potluck dinner. Visitors are most welcome!

Those interested participating in the hike, the signing, or the dinner should call Robert Ballantyne before noon on Wednesday, March 16, at 604.947.0815.

Robert Ballantyne 604 947 0815 Rotary PR Director
Denis Lynn 604 947 9806 Rotary Past President