Where the Idea for the VI-Trail came from

A continuous trail from Victoria to Cape Scott was first conceived by Gil Parker, after he had hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, completing it in 2005 at age 68.  In his earlier years, Gil was more of a mountain climber than a hiker, ascending mountains not only closer to home in B.C. but also around the world including in Patagonia, the Caucasus and the volcanoes of the Kamchatka Peninsula.  When not climbing he was an engineer building bridges.  Later in his career he was a pioneer in the solar energy business in BC, then operated a company trading in the USSR during Gorbachev’s glasnost.

Gil not only built bridges across rivers but also between cultures — he was instrumental in the founding of one of the first Rotary clubs in the Soviet Union.  He authored four books covering both mountain climbing and his experiences in the USSR and Russia.  He has been recognized as an Honorary Citizen of Victoria and as an Honorary Member of the Alpine Club of Canada.

Liz Bicknell, current VITA president, took some time in the fall of 2020 to interview Gil at Anderson Hill Park which is the southern starting point for the trail in Victoria.  She asked him questions about the VI-Trail’s original concept, challenges and progress over the past several years.  Check out that interview below.