The Municipal District of Mount Waddington has 18 of the top 100 trails on Vancouver Island.
According to Pat English, manager of economic development, Tourism Vancouver Island is currently identifying the top 100 trails.
“They are going to develop an interactive website and market the top 100 trails to their clientele,” English said.
“They were soliciting submissions from the regions and we put together a list of 49 (trails),” English said. “Their preliminary listing includes 18 of the 49,” he said. “We do have some of the best trails on the Island.”
The crown of these are the West Coast and Scott trails. English said a Vancouver Island Spine Trail involving a 700-kilometre hike from Victoria to Cape Scott is being proposed by the Vancouver Island Spine Trail Association and will involve a link from Port Hardy.
The Municipal District of Mount Waddington’s Strategic Sectors Study identified experiential tourism as being a key for attracting tourists, and hiking and the use of trails have been identified as one of the most often used activities for tourists.
“What I want to do is use the trails to increase the attractiveness of the area to tourists and have a real world-class trail system throughout the North Island that links wilderness areas, viewscapes, cultural features and towns so that we can market that to attract and increase tourist visits,” said English.
One of the things that needs to be done is to increase the amount of information that is available by creating a better database of the trails that exist on the North Island. The last report on trails in the area was done in 2009, said English.
The new database would include information about any maintenance issues that need to be addressed and what level of hiker each trail is suitable for. It would also identify where the trails cross traditional territories and First Nations would need to be consulted “to ensure that they are in agreement with our priorities for the trails across their territories so that we can maintain a respectful partnership with them,” English said.
All this information would be placed in an online directory.