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BC Trails Day includes 60-plus communities, qathet among them

Province-wide celebration highlights importance of outdoor recreation

British Columbia is gearing up to celebrate BC Trails Day this coming Saturday, June 1.

This annual event is a province-wide celebration that highlights the importance of trails and outdoor recreation to the physical, mental and environmental health of our communities. BC Trails Day also recognizes the invaluable contributions of volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to maintaining and enhancing these trails for all to enjoy.

Organized by the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC (ORCBC), in collaboration with local recreation and stewardship organizations, municipalities and land managers, BC Trails Day will feature more than 60 community events across the province, including group hikes and rides to trail cleanups, campouts, educational sessions on trail building and responsible recreation, and activities introducing new trail users to outdoor recreation.

Participating communities include the qathet region, Black Creek, Burnaby, Burns Lake, Chilliwack, Christina Lake, Clearwater, Colwood, Courtenay, Creston, Cumberland, Delta, Denman Island, Elkford, Fernie, Gabriola, Gambier Island, Golden, Grand Forks, Grasmere, Hope, Invermere, Jordan River, Kamloops, Kelowna, Kimberley, Langley, Logan Lake, Maple Ridge, Mission, Pemberton, Port Alberni, Prince George, Qualicum, Revelstoke, Rossland, Saanich, Salmo, Salmon Arm, Saturna Island, Scotch Creek, Sicamous, Spruston, Squamish, Surrey, Terrace, Vancouver, Victoria, Williams Lake and more.

The qathet region event is called Sentinel Trail Day with Knuckleheads Winter Recreation Association. Meet up is at Dixon Road (9 am) for carpooling. Alternatively, meet up at trail head at 10 am, when a group hike to Vic Cole Cabin starts from there up to the cabin, where a Knucks burger cook-up takes place at noon before cleaning up and hiking out.

"We are thrilled to see BC Trails Day grow each year, bringing together people from all walks of life to celebrate and care for our incredible trail systems," stated ORCBC executive director Louise Pedersen, in a media release. "Trails not only provide opportunities for physical activity and recreation but also serve as vital connections to nature and the communities around us. This Saturday, we encourage everyone to head outdoors, explore their local trails and discover the beauty of British Columbia."

Here are some ways to celebrate BC Trails Day with your family or friends:

● Find a local event or register your own event.

● Go for a walk, ride, or paddle and have fun. If you're taking any four-legged friends along, remember a leash and waste bags.

● Pack a small garbage bag and some gloves, and pick up any trash you see on the trail. This helps keep trails clean and safe for other users and the wildlife who live nearby.

● Become a member of a local outdoor group to show support for your favourite trails. Your membership will support trail maintenance and advocacy for your community's trail systems.

● Share a social media post on why you're celebrating trails for a chance to win some great prizes. Tag #BCTrailsDay and the ORCBC (Instagram: to be entered to win.

At the core of BC Trails Day is also the acknowledgment and celebration of the countless volunteers who dedicate their time, energy and passion to the upkeep of BC trails and outdoor recreation amenities, the release stated.

"These dedicated volunteers play a vital role in BC’s outdoor spaces, clearing fallen debris, cutting back vegetation, repairing trail infrastructure, leading educational hikes and championing sustainable trail practices."

The exact number of volunteer trail stewards in BC and their hours have not been comprehensively counted. However, Recreation Sites and Trails BC (RSTBC), under the Forest and Range Practices Act, has 388 partnership agreements with recreation groups, covering over 1,000 sites and trails. They collaborate indirectly with 8,812 volunteers who contribute nearly 400,000 hours, according to the release.

ORCBC’s survey data shows that only 60 per cent of outdoor recreation groups formally work with RSTBC. As such, thousands of volunteers and their hours likely remain unaccounted for.

"Volunteers truly form the backbone of our trail system," added Pedersen. "Their dedication and tireless efforts are essential in ensuring our trails remain safe, accessible and enjoyable for everyone. BC Trails Day provides a platform to recognize their invaluable contributions to our communities. For trail users looking to give back, consider joining a local recreation group and contribute to ongoing trail maintenance and advocacy for the trail systems in their local community."

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