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BC Marine Trails: Preserving BC coastal access for small craft users.

November AGM & Paddling North Speakers

We had a very successful AGM, Saturday, November 24 with approximately 40 people in attendance. As president our association received some very positive comments about both the AGM and the Paddling North speaker, Rebecca Grim (see their Youtube trailer)

The BC Marine Trails welcomes three returning directors for a two-year term: Gene, Karen and Jerry. Paul will return as president for two more years. We also welcome two more directors - Allan and Robert (treasurer). Special thanks to everyone who helped out at the AGM/Forum.

This year the BC Marine Trails reworked its vision and then laid out a careful strategic plan for 2019 - 2022 to guide the Association for the next three years.

From the vision we defined our values. We wanted to give our members and ourselves a better sense of who we are. We recognized the importance of engaging First Nations early and arrived at this value by talking to elders and getting help from the Nanwakolas Council in Campbell River. Currently, we have a First Nations Advisory Group to help guide us to respectfully and knowledgeably engage our First Peoples on this coastline. Coastline Nations account for a quarter of all BC Nations.

We also crafted a new value during our recent strategic meeting of the board: This value is: the right of public access to public places. Already we are fighting a battle to access pubic places.

We believe it is a strong benefit both for the province and local communities to create a network of marine trails. Our new marine trail safety mandate provides a clear, safety-based rationale for requiring sites in areas otherwise difficult to secure (we will post the mandate in upcoming news in the New Year).

Our marine trail mandate allows us to examine coastline sections more logically. The mandate includes information such as optimal and maximum distances between campsites, distances for classification of an extended passage and the need for campsites at staging points. An extremely interesting development is the addition of safety stops. Our Trails Development Committee worked a year ago on Overnight Stops, but this was further clarified with the development of our Marine Trail Safety Mandate, where we are looking for safety stops at least every 4 nm. These are emergency stops to pull off the water. It's well known that land below the high tide line is crown land and everyone has the right to set foot on a beach.. This will strengthen our marine trails network.

Rebecca presented the Paddling North Trip in a delightful manner. Rebecca's and Leonie's trip from Salt Spring Island to Glacier Bay National Park was really well-organized. Rebecca highlighted aspects of her trip. At the end of the session Leonie came online from Germany and we talked to her via Skype. The connection between the two women and the audience was extremely engaging and as president of the BCMT I would recommend you book a presentation for your club, school, association or at a dinner meeting. You can read more about their trip on the Paddling North website.

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