The BC Marine Trails Network Association is turning its attention to the Discovery Islands in 2018, starting the process to create a series of formal marine routes to link Powell River, Campbell River and Sayward.
The multi-phase project will begin by conducting a series of public and stakeholder consultations this spring. Integral to that is consultations with First Nations, to reach agreements on how to manage recreational use within their traditional lands.
The project follows on the success of the Salish Sea Marine Trail, which opened in September 2017. That was the first project that used a new planning model instituted by the BCMTNA, and the Discovery Islands Marine Trail project expands on the success of that with a tiered consultative and collaborative process to encourage full stakeholder participation in the planning framework.
Once agreement is reached with First Nations and stakeholders on the parameters of the project, the following phases will map out marine trail routes and the site acquisition process.
It is expected to be a complex process due to the various interests involved, particularly due to the overlapping traditional territory of First Nations, the high commercial forestry use, and even the high level of commercial ecotourism in the region.
The BCMTNA hopes to provide the balance through new marine trail routes, dispersed camping options, and site value protection through proper site design, location and other mitigating factors.