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On the Beaten Path

Our biggest adventure

There is a new trail coming to the island and it will send a shiver down your “spine”. The Vancouver Island Spine Trail Association (VISTA) is a charitable organization on a mission to bring a 700km wilderness trail to Vancouver Island, BC. The trail will cut through the heart of the island from Victoria, B.C. in the south to Cape Scott Provincial Park in the north. For years, a few dedicated people have been working tirelessly with municipalities, government, First Nations, landowners, and trail builders on the concept. This will be a trail that attracts visitors and sustains locals. It is a trail that will tell stories for generations to come. With 1/3 of the project complete, the goal is to have the trail completed by 2017.

Alberni Inlet Trail

In July, my family and I started a four year commitment of mini expeditions along the Spine Trail. We will travel the entire trail and become activists for what trails offer people, community, and tourism. Some of our mini expeditions will be day trips while others will involve multi-sport and multi day excursions. We will tell stories along the way, invite others to join us on sections, promote the trail and communities it touches, and use various modes of human powered transportation. The first leg of our adventure showcased the newest section of the trail. Built in 2012 and 2013, the Tuck Lake Trail connects the west side of Cowichan Lake with trails that lead to Port Alberni. If I break down the trails for you, this section of the Spine Trail is as follows. Tuck Lake Trail (Kissinger Lake to Francis Lake), Tseshaht Runners Trail (old village site at Franklin River to the Alberni Inlet near Headquarters Bay), the Historical CNPR Trail (somewhere along the inlet to China Creek) and the Alberni Inlet Trail (China Creek to Port Alberni). This is about 50km of trail that travels through beautiful forests and along historical routes. We hiked this route by backpacking most of it with a little trail running thrown in for fun.

Our goal is to be a part of building a legacy of trails on Vancouver Island. Trails are not just worn out paths. They lead to outdoor recreation, family time, healthy active lifestyles, connect people with nature, tell stories of past, inspire, motivate, and challenge you. I want to have a positive impact on how people look at trails and share stories of becoming the first family to travel along the newly built, connected and proposed 700km Vancouver Island Spine Trail by 2017. Expeditions that we expect to complete this year, as part of the Spine Trail, is paddling across Lake Cowichan and cycling the Cowichan Valley Trail from Lake Cowichan to Shawnigan Lake.

The Spine Trail will offer many benefits to Vancouver Island, like tourism and outdoor recreation, as well as offer a long distance trail “island style” similar to the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail in the United States and the Camino de Santiago in Spain. If you are interested in learning more about VISTA and the proposed Spine Trail route, visit www.vispine.ca and if you want to be a part of building or supporting a legacy of trails on Vancouver Island visit www.vispine.ca/support-vi-spine but more importantly, become part of the journey.

Join the Island (and beyond) outdoor community, us and VISTA on this journey to build the largest trail building community this province has ever seen by getting out on the trails and sharing #alegacyofstories through one of VISTA’s social media channels (@vanisletrails @vispinetrail on Twitter, or vanisletrail on Instagram).

 

 

About the author: Allen McDermid

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