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Revsied strategic approach to rail trail management


Past President DSBC 2004 -2018
Staff member
As Stolen from Terry Wardrop and ATVBC

Some good news (especially to DSBCers) to the Governments approach to the Rail Trails Strategy

The issue around motorized use on the rail trails has been around for a long-time. Since 2007 and earlier The Quad Riders ATV Association of B.C. and their clubs have been instrumental in negotiating with Government trying to achieve a balanced approach to use with BCORMA contributing to the discussions at the provincial level on the Rail Trail Conflict Committee during the last few years. Added to this were the small communities along the Rail trail contributing to the discussions as well. At times some felt it was almost a lost cause as support for Motorized use was almost none existent. Well this has changed.

As a result of dialogue carried out by the Associations, the Clubs, local communities and the responsible rider, the Government has changed their approach to the Management of the Rail Trails. In a nutshell with the exception of the obvious higher value areas like Myra Canyon, the Naramata section between Penticton and Kelowna and the section between Christina Lake and Grand Forks and with the addition of other sections of similar nature that may be mutually agreed to, the Rail Trails will be managed as mixed or shared use trails. As a rule of thumb one can say those sections centered around developed or urban areas will be considered as non-motorized while the rural and wilderness portions will be considered mixed use. See the attached letter signed off by Gary Townsend Assistant Deputy Minister.

I am not going to say this is a win as along this acknowledgement of motorized use comes the responsibility to do whatever we can to show that the motorized sector and the non-motorized groups can share the same trail and that sharing works. The onus will be on the rider to step up and do whatever is needed to make this trail work. The rest will follow. A foundation is in place so let’s keep up the momentum.

They talk about making destination trails that are non-motorized well let’s make a destination trail that shows that you can enjoy this world class trail using the seat of your choice. I challenge each and every rider to step up and accept this responsibility.

I would like to thank you all for assisting in establishing the foundation that allowed us to achieve this long term goal.

Terry Wardrop
Land & Environment Coordinator
Quad Riders ATV Association of B.C. (ATVBC)

Copy of Letter from Gary Townsend​
Assistant Deputy Minister​

File: 16660-20/REC31979 Ref: 207749
August 13, 2014

Jeff Mohr President
Quad Riders ATV Association of BC
PO Box 24108 Stn Northills Ctr
Kamloops, BC V2B 8R3

Dear Jeff Mohr:
As a stakeholder in the management and development of BC’s rail trails, I am writing to
inform you of a revised strategic approach to rail trail management by the Ministry of
Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
As you know, BC began acquiring abandoned rail corridors in the early to mid 1990s for
development as recreation trails. In 2007, Recreation Sites and Trails BC assumed
responsibility for the management of approximately 550 km of former rail corridors. These
trails include the Crown-owned portions of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail outside of provincial
parks (from Brookmere to Midway), the Columbia and Western Rail Trail (from Midway to
Castlegar), and the Slocan Valley Rail Trail.
Despite significant capital investment from the Province, federal government, Trans
Canada Trail and dedicated stewardship groups, it has been very difficult to achieve the
vision for a world-class network of primarily non-motorized rail trails. Limited operational
resources combined with the length and remoteness of the trails, extensive infrastructure
maintenance, ongoing use conflicts, and varying community support have presented many
complex challenges.
The ministry sees the need to adopt a more realistic approach to rail trails management,
one that represents the geographic and demographic variability across the landscape and
supports the multiple interests of the communities that the trails pass through. Available
funding needs to be prioritized to specific trail segments using a risk management strategy
based on community support, use levels, type of use, and tourism potential.- 2 -
In many communities along the trails, non-motorized use provides residents and visitors
with exceptional, high quality recreational opportunities. Centered around developed
areas where use is highest, non-motorized designations protect public safety, ensure an
enjoyable recreation experience, and minimize conflicts. Non-motorized trails also offer a
great opportunity for the development of destination tourism.
In the more rural and wilderness portions of the trails, non-motorized designations are
impractical to implement and not always supported by local residents. Due to higher ORV
use in these areas, trail surface conditions tend to deteriorate and cycling use is lower.
Managing these types of areas for non-motorized use does not justify the exceptional
costs required to maintain high quality tread surfaces.
The ministry's revised strategic management approach will implement an effective
governance model that will vary along the length of the rail trails. Such an approach will
acknowledge summer motorized use that currently exists along many portions of the
trails. In these cases, we will support local efforts to manage existing uses to maximize
user safety and enjoyment. It is our intention that these sections of the Trans Canada
Trail will continue to serve as important components that link TCT Greenway segments
across the province.
Available funding will be allocated to ensure that minimum maintenance standards are
applied along the length of the trails to protect public safety and minimize environmental
impacts and liabilities. Additional provincial investments will be prioritized to focus on
collaborating with interested local governments and community groups to develop and
manage sections of the trails where the potential for tourism development is high.
This strategic allocation of resources will provide opportunities to demonstrate the
exceptional potential of BC’s rail trails and hopefully foster increased community
engagement along the trail network. In this manner, we can continue to work toward our
vision of developing a world-class rail trail system in BC over time. We trust that you will
continue to support us in achieving this goal..

Gary Townsend
Assistant Deputy Minister


Administrator / BFF in the blue jacket
A lot of volunteer hours + trailpass funds have gone into this fight to keep motorized on these trails.

Let's call it a win.
Let's celebrate it with those who helped.
Let's not forget that our issues are often aligned with ATV riders.
Let's each put in the effort to make it work.


New member
While I'm happy with the news, and happy to be aligned with the ATV riders, I'm reluctant to call it a win. Just because the Gov has come to realize that motorized users take care of a lot of our own maintenance, and so by allowing us on some sections we'll take care of things for the bikers and hikers for 5 cents on the dollar, but only if we'll play nice,.......isn't a win. A win would be if we stood up and told them that we recognize their dilemma, and would love to help, but that we're not second class on the trails we maintain.....the Non-ms are. Also, the trails we maintain should be clearly marked with appreciative signs explaining to the Non-ms that the only reason there is something there to hike or ride is because of us. That would be a win.
Just think of the trails that have been lost after all the work we OHV-ers have done to make them in the first place.
Now is not the time to show up hat in hand, thankful for scraps and garbage.


Past President DSBC 2004 -2018
Staff member
Finally had a chance to read the Vancouver Sun Article

From Leon Lebrun
Lebrun did note there has been some success with opposing groups working together in the Chilliwack River Valley so some areas are off-limits to motorized access.

I would like to clarify that we as motorized agreed not to use or go into certain sections of trail or area, we understood the rational and these areas did not impact our enjoyment of our sport but we knew it would improve other user groups enjoyment of their chosen sport. These areas are not "official non motorize" we just dont go there. I must also thank the motorized user of the Chilliwack River Valley for abiding by the non motorized designation areas, keeping the big hammer of the government away from this heavily used area

I am very pleased the Leon recognized the successes that we have had in the Chilliwack River Valley between the motorized and non motorized groups. it actually has been very easy when you take the time to understand the other user groups issues and needs and then find some common ground. It has to start with the groups sitting across from each other at the same table and knowing each others names, from there its easy.