Trails BC, ATVBC, BCORMA, and the Province working together to create mixed-use trail network across BC

As many of you know, there has major conflict around summer-motorized enjoyment of the TransCanada Trail rail trails for years. This has escilated to where ATVBC, Trails BC, Provincial trails managers and their Assistant Deputy Minister, and I meet in a basement cement room for 8hrs to hammer out steps to solutions.

We have agreed to using a Respect-Based model, where all trail users acknowledge others wants for a quality trail experience. A tool-kit was developed, and we decided on two sections of the TCT to move our model onto the ground.

John Hawkings, Provincial Trails Manager, explains it below in his open letter::

Dear Trail Users and Stakeholder

The Province intends to undertake a conflict resolution process to address on-going and longstanding issues of trail use on the Province’s Rail Trail Network.

The Province has convened a provincial-level steering committee to oversee the development and implementation of a framework to address the conflict in specific communities along the rail trails. The Committee includes representatives of the Province’s Recreation Sites and Trails Branch, responsible for the management of large portions of the trails, representatives of Trails BC, the provincial organization representing the Trans Canada Trail, representatives of Quad Riders ATV Association of BC and a representative of the BC Off-Road Motorcycle Association.

The Provincial level Steering Committee has developed a proposed framework and guidance for undertaking a focused, community driven process for resolving conflict.

This Process will bring together provincial level guidance from Ministry and trail organizations with community representatives of stewardship and user groups in specific communities to help find local solutions that ensure high quality recreation experiences for all user groups . The local working groups will rely on input and participation from various other agency representatives and other interest holders during the process.

The Provincial Steering Committee has elected to initiate a pilot or demonstration project to implement the local conflict resolution process in the Naramata and Chute Lake Area of the south eastern Okanagan. The first step will be to bring together a working group of local trail use representatives, including motorized and non-motorized users who will work together with provincial representatives to identify opportunities to resolve the conflict while still meeting needs of the various users.

It is the intention of the Steering Committee to subsequently utilise the framework, once demonstrated to be successful, in other communities along the Trail.

I look forward to working with all interests to ensure the long term viability of this important provincial and national trail.

Your truly,

John Hawkings
Manager, Trails
Recreation Sites and Trails BC
Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Ken Anderson, President of Southern Okanagan Dirt Bike Club, has agreed to sit on the local working group. He is solution oriented, and understands the local dynamics.

This will also require riders to move from the win/lose conflicts of the past to one where we work to have no losers. That means slowing down and not dusting out a bicyclist, stopping and taking off your helmet for an equestrian, and not tearing up the hardened surface that touring bikes need.

This is an exciting time as we work together to make BC's trail networks some of the best in the world.