Sunday, May 30, 2010

Getting permission to work on trails in Public Forests

The BC Park system is under funded and volunteer trail maintenance is welcomed and needed in most Parks. Contact BC Parks to offer help. Parks have established assessment and approval procedures for new trails.

You need to get permission to construct trails in public forests with forest operations. Contact the Ministry of Forests to get permission. Some public forests have hiking, cross country skiing and snowmobile trails. However, we lack sufficient trails to provide access to special natural features in many working forest landscapes. Visitors to BC write letters to local newspapers noting the lack of trail access.

See previous posts and links on how to locate a trail and survey the location in preparation for approval. You should be willing to make changes to accommodate the authorities. The trail location may need to be altered to avoid some sensitive site or for other cogent reason. Help full accommodation by all will enable a trail project to get approval and proceed toward completion.

In the past, environmental groups constructed trails in Public Forests in attempt to attract public interest in having an area declared a Park or protected area. If your trail project is received with suspicion, make it clear that you wish only to develop recreational access. There should be no resistance to developing recreational trails since it is in keeping with progress toward sustainable forest management. The Montreal Process, the international agreement on sustainable forest management encourages the development of multiple social and economic benefits from the forest. A forest trail is a social or recreational benefit that brings people into a relationship of care and interest with the forest. A community with a good set of forest recreational trails that are well maintained and publicized will encourage some visitors to stay for days or weeks rather than a few hours.

Local groups that wish to develop forest trails to improve community recreational amenities, and are careful to follow location and construction procedures that are in keeping with best practices should be able to get permission. Go the extra mile in accommodating those in authority. Your trail project may be frustrated because Government agencies and forest companies do not want your trails in the local forest landscape. In this event you need to remind the opposition that it is the Public's Forest and become politically active in securing permission.

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