Outdoor Recreation Council of BC Seeking Funding for Trail Development, Maintenance

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The Outdoor Recreation Council of British Columbia (Canada) will be applying for an initial CA$10 million contribution to a BC Trail Fund and is seeking letters of support from trail organizations, businesses across BC to include with their proposal.

According to a report, the funds will be used to fund the province’s creation and maintenance of publicly accessible trails.

“British Columbia has more than 44,000 kilometers of officially recognized trails that receive visits from millions of locals and visitors each year,” the proposal reads.

“The development and maintenance of these trails and the rest of our outdoor recreation infrastructure rely heavily on grassroots support from more than two hundred community-based recreation groups who report increasing burnout and face limited access to funding to support their work, especially for trail improvements.”

If the government provided the initial CA$10 million endowment fund, ORC would then approach individuals, corporations, and foundations for ongoing funding.

The Council began working with the Provincial Trails Advisory Body several years ago to explore the possibility of a reliable source of funding to maintain BC’s trails. An endowment model was chosen to be the best option.

The main goals of the Trail Fund are to maintain and enhance the existing recreational trail network, improve the quality of the current recreational trail network or user experience, including safety improvements, signage, wayfinding, and barriers to access, and develop new trail and recreation infrastructure projects as funding permits.

The fund will prioritize a number of criteria that ties in with the Trails Strategy for BC, such as indigenous support, involvement, and respect for Indigenous values, collaboration in trail planning, development, and maintenance, fostering diverse and inclusive participation in trail-based recreation, increasing opportunities for physical activities for all ability levels, sustainability, and environmental stewardship, contribution to rural development and community-based tourism opportunities.

Any organization can submit a letter of support. For example, the Meadowbrook Community Association, an incorporated society of over 100 members whose constitution states, “to preserve and enhance the Meadowbrook and Woods Corner areas for residents and other recreational users,” recently issued a letter of support. Both are rural areas located directly east of the City of Kimberley.

“Like many non-profit groups, the MCA has found it challenging to acquire the funds needed to develop and maintain the trails networks,” their letter said. “The BC Trail Fund is needed by everyone who looks after trails and recreation assets in BC and by the many businesses and advocates who are seeking to grow BC’s outdoor recreation economy.”

If your organization is responsible for developing or maintaining trails, the ORC would like to see a letter of support before April 15, 2022. You may send it to info@orcbc.ca.

This story originally appeared on Creston Valley Advance.

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