Our Story

1990

In the 1990s, Peter McGee, author of Kayak Routes of the Pacific Northwest Coast, introduced the concept of a linear route connecting Washington State to Alaska. To make this vision a reality, he gathered support within the paddling community and formed the BC Marine Trails Association (BCMTA). This group created our first two sites: a campsite at Blackberry Point on Valdez Island, complete with a fine composting toilet, and a rest stop on Saltspring Island. Despite enormous support from paddlers and companies, funding constraints and limited public interest meant the time was not quite right for BCMTA to take hold.


2007

Fast forward to 2007. With increasing private and commercial interest in limited site locations, the need for advocacy to protect public access to these places continued to grow. In 2008, the BC Marine Trails Network Association (BCMTNA) was formed, building off the efforts of the BCMTA. Composed of 8 directors and a ‘task force’ of representatives from 9 paddling clubs and other advisors, the BCMTNA began the massive task of identifying potential sites along the BC coastline, estimated to be over 27,000 km in length. Some of the important work at this time was completed by Nick Heath, our current Data Manager – this work formed the basis of today’s map.

2021

Today, our work continues, with over 3,100 sites catalogued. BCMTNA, now known more commonly as BC Marine Trails (BCMT), has over 800 members and counting. After a series of significant reorganizational changes by current President Paul Grey and the BCMT Board of Directors, we are well-positioned to achieve our vision of connecting the BC Coast.