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New agreement on trail maintenance

New agreement on trail maintenance

BC Timber Sales (BCTS) has entered into an agreement with the Sunshine Coast Trails Society (SCTS)which formally recognizes the society’s role maintaining trails on the lower Coast. The Memorandum of Understanding also includes Recreation Sites and Trails BC.
This is the first project of this type on the Sunshine Coast. The one-year agreement formalizes the relationship between the three parties and provides $1,500 in funding from BC Timber Sales for trail maintenance.
The Trails Society is an umbrella group representing all trail users, including hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, ATV riders, and dirt bikers. Members include the Tetrahedron Outdoor Club, Community Forest, United Mountain Bikers, Equestrian Club, and Sunshine Coast Tourism.
Adam Hockin, planning forester for BC Timber Sales, noted that working with the Trails Society is part of a new initiative on the part of BC Timber Sales to build relationships with community groups.
“Our planning process takes several years and involves many legal requirements and technical assessments, so BCTS wants to understand community concerns in advance of doing that work,” he said.
This year BCTS moved to a five-year plan, and sent copies of their proposed harvesting plan to First Nations, local governments and user groups for feedback.
Hockin noted that while BCTS works with recreational users across the province, what is somewhat unique here is that the Trails Society represents a cross-section of recreational interests, not just a single user group. “That is of incredible value to BCTS as we incorporate recreational values into our planning process,” said Hockin.
Trails Society Chair Elise Rudland noted that the society provides an important round table for trail planning, including consistent signage format, trail etiquette education and conflict resolution amongst user groups.
Most local trails have been built by volunteers without official permission and have no protection from logging or other industrial activities. The Trails Society is working with the Recreation Sites and Trails BC to identify high value trails and obtain legal recognition for them under the Forest and Range Practices Act.
Donna McMahon

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