Alpine Club of Canada

WinterGazette2016

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12 The Alpine Club of Canada Gazette Winter 2016 chest high, as well as more mature, second growth forests. We consider these sections an opportunity for companies to show the best of "managed forests". In several cases, the riparian sections that are dedicated along streams and rivers as protected zones afford us the opportunity to create our VI Spine Trail in the shade of old‑growth giants. lies in gaining access to private land owned by forestry companies, a legacy of 19th‑century railway land grants. Negotiations for access are required in sections near Cowichan Lake, the Beaufort Range near Port Alberni, and Strathcona Dam. In our preliminary talks with landowners, we acknowledge the primacy of wood/fibre production and seek a cooperative land management approach, one that integrates the primary objective of the landowner with the out‑ door recreation objectives of the public. On the island, hikers and climbers know that access to their backcountry means logging roads—lots of them. ey are not surprised to run across recently logged cutblocks, areas that have been replanted with conifers that might be by andy oGle A lpine Club of Canada Life Member Gil Parker wasn't on any spiritual quest when he walked most of the 4,300‑kilometre Pacific Crest Trail between 1999 and 2004. But he did have a vision! Why not, he thought, create a similar long‑distance trail on Vancouver Island from his home in Victoria to Cape Scott on its north‑ ern tip? Fast forward a dozen years, and his vision has become the Vancouver Island Spine Trail. e name came from Parker's initial stab at drawing a line of the "spine" of the island, linking existing trails with new sections to create a 700‑kilometre backcountry route. By 2009, Parker and some fellow hikers had come together to create the Vancouver Island Spine Trail Association (VISTA), with a Board that I joined two years later. In 2010, Parker and ACC member Andrew Pape‑Salmon organized a relay that saw Andrew lead a handful of hardy runners, horseback riders and cyclists to complete much of the route. (Planned as a non‑motorized trail, parts of it will be accessible to cyclists and equestrians as well as hikers.) Community meetings took place at seven centres along the route, drawing outdoor enthusiasts and local politicians to support the concept. As Parker originally envisioned it, the trail route passes near many of the island's major peaks—Mount Becher, Mount Albert Edward, Alexandra Peak, Victoria Peak, Mount Schoen—mountains he has summited along with many others in India, Russia and Georgia, as well as closer to home in the United States and Canada. But practical considerations neces‑ sitated some route changes. Snowfall on the island's alpine regions often exceeds four metres. e route now fol‑ lows more sub‑alpine terrain for longer user accessibility. Other challenges have to be addressed. e route crosses the traditional lands of several First Nations who need to be consulted—an ongoing process. It also traverses six of the island's seven regional districts and touches several towns and villages; all can benefit from the trail, but need to be consulted. Perhaps the biggest challenge Member conceives Vancouver Island Spine Trail Right: Gil Parker makes friends with the locals, photo: andy oGle Trail volunteer Katrine Kaarsemaker takes in the view above Tuck Lake. photo: ross collicut Hikers appreciate the bridge over Parsons Creek on the Runners' Trail to Alberni Inlet. photo: andy oGle

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