Who are we?
BC Marine Trails is a non-profit organization working together to help secure long term public access to the BC coast.
Our mission is to work with First Nations and stakeholders to build, protect and promote a public network of marine trails allowing recreational navigation of the BC coastline with minimal impact on the environment.
What do we do?
The BC Marine Trails work consists of three pillars: Trails Development, First Nations Engagement and Stewardship.
Our Trails Development work enables recreationalists to navigate the coast safely and respectfully. It encompasses everything from site assessments and safety mandates to social license over coastal access points. As part of our trail development, we install things like tent platforms, food caches and composting toilets. All of this is necessary to keep sites sustainable and is made possible through donations, membership fees and the help of our dedicated volunteers.
Working together with First Nations is an important part of our work. As we establish a marine trail network, respectful engagement and listening is a way to give back in the process of reconciliation. We address current issues and provide consistent engagement, which enables dialogue. Information about proposed marine trail sites is shared and discussed in a respectful manner, and where possible, agreements are reached to permit access to sites within a First Nations’ traditional territory, while guiding the public away from the most sensitive spiritual and heritage sites. Sharing information supports our mutual belief in collaborative stewardship, and benefits First Nations initiatives.
Environmental Stewardship is a crucial aspect of our work at BC Marine Trails. We value the incredibly diverse environment of the BC Coast and are committed to help protect and preserve it for future generations. Our on-the-ground initiatives include shoreline cleanups, invasive species removals, site maintenance and improvements. Another major stewardship initiative over the past few years was the development of a marine Code of Conduct, which encourages visitors and recreationalists to have minimal impact on the local environment. As part of our public education program, we aim to raise awareness of our collective role and responsibility as marine stewards.
Why do we do it?
At the core of everything we do is a shared love for our coast. The unparalleled scenery of the ocean and temperate rainforests of British Columbia gives us a sense of identity. Traversing the shorelines under our own power, riding swell, pushing through fog and basking in sunlight is life-changing as it envelopes us in a deep sense of BC’s rich coastal beauty.
Exploring the big, bold and beautiful coast, makes us realize our insignificance and importance all at once.
As users of these lands and waters we are accountable to protect and preserve sensitive ecosystems, wildlife and habitat by minimizing our environmental impact through education and stewardship. With rising pressure from industrial and commercial interests, and the understanding and recognition that we largely recreate in unceded traditional lands of coastal First Nations without agreements, we also hold a responsibility to honour and acknowledge whose land we are on and to gain social license. We must recreate responsibly and work together to preserve cultural values and consent in an effort to establish public access to the coast.
We are all connected by a shared love for these wild places and together we can do our part in ensuring many more generations get to experience the abundance of our coast.