There is a large network of public trails on Gabriola, which GaLTT publicizes through its printed brochures and trail maps, and through the interactive map on this website.
BREAKING NEW TRAILS
GaLTT work parties break new trails in locations approved by RDN and BC parks departments according to their official management plans, or through trail licence agreements with private landowners. Trails are also developed on unused road allowances, which can be located with the help of the RDN, Islands Trust, and BC's Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (MoTI).
MAINTAINING TRAILS—ways you can help
GaLTT maintains the public trails in walkable condition. Regular volunteer work parties trim back surrounding bushes and branches, and remove fallen trees. They also remove invasive species such as Daphne laureola, Scotch broom, and Tansy ragwort. Sometimes drainage ditches must be dug, or boardwalks constructed across valuable wetlands or where conditions are very muddy (photo courtesy Keith Poulton).
You can help maintain our trails on your regular walks, or by joining some of our twice-monthly work parties on Sunday afternoons. You can use your own tools or borrow GaLTT's. Email Rob Brockley to join a GaLTT trail work party. You can also report poor conditions to Rob, such as quagmires, fallen trees, or overgrown brush, so that our teams can go in and improve them. Became a trail steward for your favourite trail, walking it regularly and reporting poor conditions (or fixing them!). Contact Rob to put yourself on his trail steward list. If your favourite trail is already being stewarded, you can ask to be assigned another.
You can also help maintain our public trails by using them responsibly, staying on the trail, and avoiding damage to surrounding areas.
Past work parties
This happy group helped to build Petroglyph Way Community Park Trail (behind the United Church) in GaLTT's early days. GaLTT work parties and Commons volunteers continue to work around the island maintaining trails, breaking new trails, and pulling invasive broom and daphne. GaLTT volunteers also helped with the landscaping at the clinic.
We also scavenge for boardwalk materials. Crews pulled nails and sawed boards from Don and Mary Butt's old sundeck. Randy says: "Don's deck has produced 216 three-foot boards, which would give us 108 feet of walkway." More of the Butts' decking was used for boardwalks in the Commons and in Robinson Woods (between Cooper and Thompson).
This picture shows GaLTT volunteers at work on the boardwalk that is part of the licensed trail through Robinson's Woods. Randy says they had to: "…haul in concrete blocks, stringer frames, and decking." They used portable electric drills to assemble the boardwalks.
TRAILS NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
and/or not included on GaLTT's maps
Many well-used and beautiful trails on Gabriola (some of them old logging roads) do not appear on GaLTT's trail maps, which often puzzles trail-walkers. This is because the trails either run across private land or through land held as a nature reserve.
In answer to GaLTT's request to include the trails through Elder Cedar Nature Reserve (which is owned by the Islands Trust Fund, ITF) on our trail maps, Kate Emmings, who is an Ecosystem Protection Specialist for ITF said:
"Trust Fund Board…does not restrict public access in its Nature Reserves. We do, however, try not to advertise them so that the use is kept light. In the case of the Elder Cedar Nature Reserve, we also have some concerns about advertising trails that lead off the property onto Crown Lands."
In its drive to achieve public trail connections all the way between Descanso Bay and Drumbeg Parks, GaLTT continues to negotiate with private land-owners, the Snunéymuxw First Nations, and Government departments for public trail access, but urges trail users to respect No Trespassing notices in the meantime.