Work starts on Cowichan – Alberni Connector

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On August 9, a group of hardy souls re-started the trail marking and brushing out. The objective is to complete the Tuck Lake trail and connect it with the Runners trail, virtually completing the connection from the west end of Cowichan Lake to Port Alberni. But challenges remain! A large amount of logging has been done adjacent to the Nitinat River, fortunately avoiding our trail and river ford area. Further north and west, the trail markers have been removed and other flagging is in its place, foretelling some additional logging work that might be done this summer.

Our crews placed the first trail marker adjacent to the TimberWest access road off the Nitinat village road.

For now, this is where the VI Spine Trail starts. West from this marker, Jay Rastogi and Alan Philip marked the trail down to the Nitinat River, across the ford and up the slope to the top of Parker Ridge. Alan has agreed to voluntarily maintain this section in future! At the same time, Robert Gunn, our designated trail-boss, and Harry Schwartz marked the trail from near Tuck Lake, up to Nadira Pass. Under Robert’s direction, the plan is to complete the marking and brushing out of the entire trail this summer.

It is not VISTA’s intention to own any of these trails which together will form the VI Spine Trail. Other agencies will have to join our effort to help cover liability and to negotiate right of passage with private landowners. But the efforts of VISTA and the Alberni Valley Outdoor Club (AVOC) in this case show that volunteer groups can complete a valuable recreation facility at extremely low cost.

Thanks to VISTA founder, past-president and current board member Gil Parker for the report and photos!