VITA’s Vision and Mission

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Vision Statement

Our vision is the Vancouver Island Trail, linking people and communities on Vancouver Island, from Victoria in the southeast to Cape Scott on the northwestern tip.

Mission Statement

The Vancouver Island Trail Association (VITA) shall collaborate with all stakeholders to create the Vancouver Island Trail (VI-Trail), linking new and existing trails into a world-class, multi-use recreational facility the length of Vancouver Island.

Who Benefits?

The intent is to provide healthful recreation and adventure opportunities for citizens of British Columbia, to create a tourism destination, to link communities, and to provide opportunities for local workers and for commercial entrepreneurs.  Anticipated trail users include hikers, runners, mountain bikers and equestrians; however, not all sections of trail will be suitable for all user groups as the variable nature of the terrain and trail will preclude some user types.  Furthermore, in some jurisdictions/tenures (most notably in Provincial Parks), hiking on foot is the only permitted use.  VITA will indicate on its website and other media the range of permitted trail uses for various sections of the VI-Trail, but users will always be responsible for choosing a suitable mode of travel, dependent also on their expertise and capabilities.

How does the Trail Happen?

Since the VI-Trail will be located across a diversity of land ownership, land tenures and government jurisdictions, VITA will tailor its approach to each of these partners, as follows:

Public Lands Managers

Where the VI-Trail utilizes lands and rights-of- way regulated by provincial, regional or local governments, such as public roads, highways, municipal streets and Provincial Parks; users must follow the regulations for such lands and accommodate motorized traffic where necessary.  Provincial Park trails may not permit bicycles, equestrian use or allow dogs. Communities potentially affected will include Greater Victoria, Lake Cowichan, Port Alberni, Cumberland, Woss, Port McNeill, Fort Rupert and Port Hardy.

Crown land that is managed for forestry under various tenures (licenses) is regulated by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO).  On such Crown land, the Recreation Sites and Trails B.C. division administers regulations that allow VITA to construct trails; some may be under specific sections (56 or 57) of the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA).  VITA liaises with forest tenure holders during the planning, locating, clearing and maintenance of the VI-Trail through their tenures.

First Nations

Since the VI-Trail is located across several traditional First Nations territories, VITA is committed to consult with First Nations to ensure that the VI-Trail respects First Nations historical and cultural interests, and future priorities.  VITA believes that the VI-Trail will benefit First Nations citizens by the provision of employment and commercial opportunities as well as opportunities to interpret their culture and history to trail visitors.  Initial trail work will be limited to trail location and flagging only, to permit planning and decision-making.

Regional Districts

Regional Districts are granted a regional planning function under the Local Government Act of B.C.  Whether the VI-Trail traverses Crown land or private forest land, VITA will negotiate with the appropriate regional district to ensure the VI-Trail is coordinated with their regional parks and trails plans and land use plans.  VITA will not own trail rights-of-way; but will seek to include regional districts in any land-use agreements and to act as the agent in planning, building and maintenance of the VI-Trail.  The VI-Trail will become a regional recreational facility.  VITA will seek to collaborate with other outdoors organizations to assist VITA with trail maintenance.

Private Land Managers

Where the VI-Trail traverses private forest land, VITA intends to negotiate terms of access for the VI-Trail.  These lands, as well as the Crown lands licensed by government to forestry companies, are part of the ‘managed forests’ of Vancouver Island, and trails through them will encounter similar conditions.  VITA considers these ‘working forests’ to be an integral part of the Vancouver Island landscape that VI-Trail users will be able to explore and come to understand.

On private forest lands, VITA acknowledges the primacy of wood/fibre production and does not seek to impede the core business of the landowners, nor to seek any change in the status of private forest lands.  VITA believes in a collaborative and cooperative land management approach that integrates the primary objectives of the landowner with the outdoor recreation aspirations of the public.

Last updated: March, 2018