Community Engagement chair Lou Skinner shows off some of our publications at the Farmers’ Market table.
From May long weekend through to Thanksgiving, GaLTT volunteers maintain a display table at most of the Saturday morning Gabriola Farmers’ Markets. It’s a great place to get help and information, pick up a free brochure or buy a new trail map. Our volunteers also run this table at other community events such as the Spring and Fall Fairs at the Commons.
At the table our volunteers:
- publicize our other events and activities
- give tips on managing invasives and stewarding your land
- provide information about Gabriola’s landscape, conservation work, and trail system
- sign up new members and volunteers, and renew memberships
- sell trail-maps and take donations!
At our AGMs and at occasional other times, GaLTT invites well-respected, interesting speakers to Gabriola. Anyone may attend, by donation. Various speakers and topics over the years have educated, challenged, and amused us, including: Dr Nancy Turner (Ethnobotany in BC); Peter Lamb (Islands Trust story); Dr Richard Hebda (Effects of climate change on Gabriola’s ecology); and Dr Kees Groot (Sex life of salmon).
If you have a good idea for a guest speaker, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guided trail and nature walks
Nick Doe sneaks in a chemistry lesson while talking about rocks collected by his audience at Whalebone beach
Periodically, to supplement our printed trail map and self-guided walk brochures, knowledgeable local volunteers lead trail walks focused on the features of a particular area. Sometimes locals with special expertise guide walks to explore particular features like our Coastal Douglas-fir ecological zone (led by Rob Brockley), geological formations or rocks and fossils (led by Nick Doe); or the soundscape (led by Dinah D).
If you have an idea for a guided nature walk contact us at email@example.com.
End-to-End Gabriola Treks
Most years since 2014, sometimes twice yearly, we trek from one end or side of the island to the other. Usually, we walk in June or September to avoid the hottest weather. We walk almost entirely on public trails or very quiet country roads, with occasional brief links across private land with advance permission of the owners. We take it easy and break at midday for lunch, and of course, always try and end up in a watering hole. The routes have varied in length from about 14 km to 19 km. When significant new public trails have been developed, as in 2019 when a large area was added to 707 Community Park, we try to include it in a new trek route.
Our volunteers have cleared most of the broom you can see in the meadow in this photo and the wild flowers have returned!
Over thirty people (including a baby in a carrier, some leashed dogs, a horse-rider, and several bikers) followed our first 2014 route. Starting in Descanso Bay Campground, we went up through Cox Park, and to the village via the Church-Spruce connector (then a narrow walking trail). We walked up Tin Can Alley Trail to 707, and through to the Elgie-Tait connector; then through the crown lands and down the Nelder’s Pond trail, and the last stretch along Dorby Way and several smaller trails to South Road, ending with refreshments at Silva Bay Pub (since, alas, burned down).
Since 2014 we have trekked a variety of end-to-end routes: from Silva Bay to Surf Lodge or the Skol Pub, and from Joyce Lockwood Park across to Gabriola Golf Course using newly added 707 trails. By 2021 the trek had grown from 30 to 100 participants and followed a new route from Silva Bay to Surf Lodge that included walking along the north shore through the Whalebone Community Parks and Sandwell Park.
Our printed trail map includes 26 descriptions of walking routes that we call the ABC walks. We’ve done a number of guided walks to introduce people to them.
We will include these routes in our trails atlas, which is under development and will be linked to this website. In the meantime, go to our Trails page to get more detailed information on our ABC walks.
ABOVE: The first walkers arrive at the just-placed marker for the first of GaLTT’s Great Winter Walkabout routes.
Great Winter Walkabout—walking into spring
In late 2020, when islanders were feeling isolated and housebound by Covid-19, we delighted Gabriolans with our first Great Winter Walkabout (GWW1). Each week for 12 weeks, we were all encouraged to get out and explore a new neighbourhood on unfamiliar trails. Routes (and parking instructions) were publicized widely with downloadable pamphlets and prizes offered to those who completed their trail journal.
We marked trail-heads with rocks colourfully painted by Gabriola Elementary School students, and flagged unfamiliar route junctions. (Yes, we removed all markers after the series finished!) You can find the GWW1 route descriptions on our Trails and Maps page.
Our 2022 Great Winter Walkabout (GWW2) will take us to find significant trees on Gabriola, many of which are big enough to be listed on our Big-tree Registry.
GaLTT occasionally organizes guided walks that ask people to be quietly attentive to their environment.
- In 2014 we led our first Forest Bathing (shinrin-yoku*) walk in S’ul-hween-‘Xpey (Elder Cedar) Nature Reserve.
- Silent Soundwalks led by Dinah D, beginning in 2021, help us engage with our environment in a new way.
This practice of gently and quietly hiking with frequent stops to experience the sights, sounds, smells, feel, and tastes of the surrounding forest is not about socializing, it is about shared awareness of being in nature.
*Shinrin-yoku is a form of meditation inspired by ancient Shinto and Buddhist practices. It was proposed in 1982 by the Forest Agency of Japan as a good way to relax and manage stress, and is now recognized world-wide.
GaLTT engages with other community groups in cooperative activities such as:
The Intergenerational Land-based Learning for Reconciliation initiative sponsored by Simon Fraser University, through which Gabriolans are working toward understanding each other, our land, and our joined histories. We are honoured that Snuneymuxw First Nation Elders share Coast Salish teachings with community members and staff at Gabriola Elementary to enrich our understanding and to develop programs that incorporate indigenous values. GaLTT plans to work with students in the Garry oak ecosystem at Drumbeg Provincial Park.
GaLTT volunteers regularly participate in a leadership capacity in presentations about conservation, park history and the environment organized by the Gabriola Museum.
Most springs, children at Gabriola Elementary or in programs offered through Scouts, learn about invasive species and their impact on our native habitats and participate in work parties on the school grounds to remove broom and Daphne.
For decades, volunteers from the Gabriola Lions Club and GaLTT have worked together to control scotch broom in Drumbeg Provincial Park and other hot spots on the island as well as in the pick-up and disposal campaigns.
Want to help?
Are you a subject matter expert, or talented amateur with a lot of enthusiasm? Share your expertise by leading a workshop or nature walk. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your ideas.
If writing is your thing, there are lots of subjects to cover. Although there is plenty of information in this website, maybe we’ve missed a subject related to our landscape that you could write about? The same applies to photography—we need images to illustrate our brochures and also for posting on Facebook or Instagram. Contact email@example.com.