The Regional District of Nanaimo and a hiking and mountaineering club situated in Nanaimo will embark on a pilot project that will restore trails in the Witchcraft Lake and Mount Benson area.
RDN’s regional parks and trails select committee is recommending the regional district enter into a two-year deal with the Island Mountain Ramblers, an affiliate of the Federation of Mountain Clubs of B.C. According to Adrian Houle, the Ramblers’ project coordinator, one of the reasons the work is being done is to mitigate erosion and environmental damage brought on from foot traffic from Witchcraft Lake to the peak of Mount Benson.
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“We’re fixing drainages … you know how there’s natural confluences on the low part of the land and when a trail crosses that, the water will actually start flowing down the trail. We’re fixing parts that are eroded. Looking for parts of the trail that are damaging root systems,” said Houle.
The regional district has allocated $2,000 for the work via its regional parks budget and the board will consider second-year money allocations during 2019 budget discussions. The Ramblers have submitted a plan to the RDN detailing labour, materials and safety standards and staff are reviewing it, according to Wendy Marshall, RDN manager of parks services.
“We’ll oversee their plan and then be checking on stuff as it goes along just to make sure that it falls within our specifications and guidelines and is to the plan that they’ve submitted,” said Marshall.
The deal will conclude at the end of May 2020, although there is potential for an extension.
The Ramblers hope to begin work in the early summer.
“I think that it’s a great partnership because they’re going to come in and help improve the trail which is eroding and in need of repair, so it’s a really great partnership for the RDN,” said Marshall.
The recommendation will need approval at the RDN board level and the regional district’s next regular board meeting takes place May 22.