B.C.’s coastline could soon be more accessible to everyone. The BC Marine Trail Network Association is working to establish the Salish Sea Marine Trail connecting Vancouver Island with the mainland.
“It will start in Victoria at Clover Point,” said Stephanie Meinke, the group’s president. “It will proceed up through the Gulf Islands, across to Lasqueti Island and Texada Island, over to the B.C. mainland ending in Horseshoe Bay.”
It’s a 257-kilometre route linked by a network of campsites – all within a day’s paddle from each other. Many are located either on or near access points, allowing paddlers — novice or advanced — to launch safely.
“We want to encourage as many people as we possibly can to enjoy what we have in this in this province, and that is an incredible coastal environment,” said Meinke. “A lot of the people who don’t have a lot of experience on the water have no idea what they’re missing.”
So far, the BC Marine Trails Network Association is funding the project, estimated to cost $50,000. Grant applications are also in the works.
The group is in talks with the City of Victoria to help formalize the route.
Mayor Lisa Helps said,”It’s very low impact. I think the proposal is to put up some signs or markers so that marine users — again, experienced or new ones — have the opportunity to explore the waters and the shorelines.”
The plan is to have the marine trail completed in time to coincide with the opening of the Trans Canada Trail or “Great Trail” on Canada’s 150th birthday next July.
If successful, it will be part of the larger network, possibly extending to the whole 27,000 kilometres of B.C.’s coastline, which could be the longest marine trail in the world.