Vancouver Island Spine Trail: 2016 in Review

2016 was a great year for the Vancouver Island Spine Trail. The Board and volunteers got a lot accomplished. We still have a long way to go. It’s always good to celebrate the accomplishments along the way to the big party at the end.

The objectives set for VISTA in 2017 will be  firmed up at the AGM at the Swan Lake Nature Centre, March 8th.  See more details on the 2017 Annual General Meeting invite.

Heather Creek on the VI Spine Trail

Of course, the major physical evidence of our work will be shown in the trails we have completed. This year our Operations Director, Terry Lewis, his volunteers, and some contracted sections have together completed over 100 km of the route between Strathcona dam and the village of Woss, utilizing some logging roads, and 11 riparian sections totalling 32km interspersed between sections of road.  Some of these contain cedar and Douglas fir standing trees, some with diameters exceeding 2 m, all of which will be excluded from future cutting.

Here’s the progress in a few of the locations we’ve been working in:

  • Salmon R. Riparian – cleared by 43K in August – 3 km (1/2 of planned)
  • Grilse Cr. Lower Riparian – cleared by TL & 43K in August-Sept. – 5 km
  • Grilse Creek Upper Riparian trail – 3 km cleared; 4 km remain to clear (by Glen van Horne); Glen has finished gabion supports for a 20-m log/bridge over Grilse Cr. to replace the logging road bridge removed in August
  • Stewart – John Fraser Riparian trail – Oct. 17 work cancelled due to weather; now snowed in; 0.8 cleared, 1.2 remain to clear
  • White R. Riparian –– 6 of 10 km cleared by 43K, 4 km remain to clear; clearing in old-growth about half as fast as in second growth; now snowed in
  • Kokummi Pass trail – first 500 m flagged; 3.4 km remain to clear; now snowed in
  • Davie R. Riparian – 2 sections – 6 & 2 km cleared by 43K
  • Claud Elliot Riparian – 6 km – now snowed in
  • Runners’ Trail – maintenance on-going, most has now been cleared (including a day by UVic crew). Some re-location remains to do/consider east of Heather Creek as well as some light maintenance in timber towards Franklin Camp; several large windfalls along Francis Lake need to be cut out and less than a km of brushy trail between Darlington and Francis Lakes remains to clear. Bridge conditions need to be evaluated for potential upgrading.
  • Bonanza Section – 16 days of recce completed by Patrick Lucas but do not have gps tracks
  • Holdsworth Section – Revised short/long-term plan & 1 day of recce by Doug Goodman

Here’s the update from our volunteer coordinator

  1. We have approximately  688 man hours (86 days)of volunteer time donated this year, without counting Board member hours.
  2. Volunteer awards were mailed or hand delivered to all volunteers last month.  The awards were Tim’s coffee cards and/or ball hats with the VISTA symbol.
  3. Volunteers number 71 at this time.
  4. Will be investigating an ebook or publication VISPINE Trail book to be compiled with the help of volunteers in 2017.  This is in the conceptual stages right now.

Stay tuned for a new blog post on our plans for 2017. We’ll be firming this up at the AGM in March. Will we see you at the AGM

Also see our latest newsletters, the Footprints on the Spine,  for many other updates and stories and totals of new and existing route completed to date — over half the way to Cape Scott!