Hit the trails. The pandemic has demonstrated just how essential BC's trails are to the health and well-being of British Columbians, and the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC (ORCBC) says that it's our turn now to give back.
On Saturday, June 5, outdoor recreation groups all across British Columbia will be uniting to celebrate the first-ever BC Trails Day. ORCBC is leading the charge and is partnering with volunteer groups, the public and land agencies to celebrate and care for BC's trail system, educate about responsible recreation and help more British Columbians enjoy trails and outdoor spaces.
“Over the past year, British Columbians have turned to community trails and greenspaces to stay healthy and to boost their connection to nature and community. There are more recreation users on the trails than ever, and that means more wear and tear," says Louise Pedersen, Executive Director of the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC.
"BC Trails Day is an opportunity to come together to give back to the trails we love and bring attention to the many benefits that they provide.”
Tennessee Trent, Provincial Trails Manager for Recreation Sites and Trails BC, one of the provincial partners, said: “Great to see the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC initiate a Trails Day for the province and it’s especially encouraging to see so many communities from across the province embracing it. I look forward to participating locally as well.”
Outdoor groups and communities are encouraged to host local COVID-safe events, ranging from recreational outings, trail stewardship projects or virtual events such as online workshops to spread awareness and give back.
“While it has been great to see a significant growth in trail usage over the past year, it also increases the need for additional trail maintenance,'' says Trevor Ferrao, WORCA’s Executive Director.
“Keeping the trails clean and safe for outdoor enthusiasts takes a tremendous amount of volunteer effort, and two of the best ways people can help BC’s trails is to support their local outdoor groups by joining a trail maintenance event and becoming a member.” Louise Pedersen continued.
"If you are unable to participate in an organized event this weekend, hit the trails on your own! Pack a small garbage bag and some gloves with you, and pick up any trash you may see on the trail. This helps keep local trails clean and safe for other outdoor users and the wildlife that live nearby."
Here are some ways you can celebrate BC Trails Day on your own, with your family or friends: Go for a walk, ride, or paddle and have fun. If you're taking any four-legged friends along, don't forget a leash and waste bags. Pack a small garbage bag and some gloves with you, and pick up any trash you may see on the trail. This helps keep trails clean and safe for other users and the wildlife who live nearby. If you're able to maintain proper social distancing from others (staying at least 6-feet apart), invite a friend who's new to experiencing the outdoors or your preferred outdoor activity.
By being a guide, you can help grow the outdoor community by connecting new people to the trails. Show support for your favourite trails by joining a local trail group. Your membership will contribute to trail maintenance and advocacy for your community's trail systems. Check out ORCBC's membership directory for opportunities.
Share a social media post on why you're celebrating trails for a chance to win some great prizes. Tag #BCTrailsDay and the ORCBC (Facebook & Instagram: orcbc.ca, Twitter: orcbc_ca) to be entered to win.
The ORCBC's BC Trails Day is made possible with the generous support of gold supporters Fortis BC and TD Friends of the Environment, and bronze supporter MNP. Provincial partners include Recreation Sites and Trails BC and BC Parks. More information about BC Trails Day, including a calendar of events, is available here: https://www.orcbc.ca/bctrailsday.
ORCBC has created a new publication for BC Trails Day that lists 17 trail benefits for British Columbians to help the outdoor recreation community make a stronger case for investments in trails and outdoor recreation in BC.