The Gabriola Arts Council, through their Triumph event series, celebrated the extraordinary COVID related efforts of GaLTT and the Gabriola Lions at the a full Gabriola Island Community Hall on March 11th. The MC for the evening recounted GaLTT’s unique contribution. Despite social media posts of an earthquake in the area, we can assure the public that it was just a robust contingent of GaLTT members boogying to the Snake Island Railroad music’s high energy tempo.
GaLTT is enormously proud of what we accomplished during the pandemic. In the dark uncertain days of 2020, which imposed severe restrictions, we initiated several activities to ensure that the “mental” and “physical” health of Gabriolans could be maintained.
- Invasives Species Work: We requested and obtained a special ministerial order from the British Columbia government in the spring of 2020, allowing GaLTT volunteers to continue socially-distanced outdoors work removing invasives species such as Scotch Broom from the provincial parks on the island.
- Treasure Hunt: Sadly, we cancelled our annual end-to-end trek in June 2020. Instead, GaLTT launched a “treasure hunt”. Participants picked up from North Road Sports a brochure with eight intriguing or obscure photos taken around our extensive trail system and were challenged to identify the exact spots. Families had fun and all who completed the test received wild-seed packets and a Gabriola colouring sheet.
- Twin Beaches Accessibility: GaLTT also negotiated with BC Parks, reminding them that improving accessibility to parks and trails is in their mandate. In June 2020, our application for a grant to begin improving accessibility at Gabriola Sands Provincial Park (Twin Beaches) was approved by BC Parks. This work was completed in early 2021.
- Great Winter Walkabout: In late 2020, while everyone was learning how to cope with the constraints of COVID, we introduced a self-guided walk series to encourage everyone to get out and about, discover new trails, and “walk into spring.” Gabriolans loved the idea and participated strongly. (Thanks to the Gabriola Recreation Society for project funding, and to North Road Sports & Clothing for distributing our trail journals and donating the prizes.)
- Trail Maintenance: Through the worst of it GaLTT volunteers continued to trim the vegetation on trails that were becoming overgrown and build boardwalks, either individually or in small socially distanced groups.
Our thanks to all the volunteers who made these accomplishments possible, and to the larger Gabriola community for responding so enthusiastically.