OUR MISSION AND PROGRAMS
The BC Marine Trails' (BCMT) mission is: to work with First Nations and stakeholders to build, protect and promote a [safe] public network of marine trails allowing recreational navigation of the BC coastline with minimal impact on the environment.
First Nations Engagement
First Nations have paddled the coast of B.C. since time immemorial and we owe them a great debt today for many routes, techniques and technologies they developed.
Because of this as well as the broader nationwide movement towards reconciliation, BC Marine Trails (BCMT) has chosen an approach through consultation, collaboration, and partnership. BCMT is endeavouring to ensure the work of our many volunteers and members is done with full respect to First Nations rights and values. This is reflected in both our Mission Statement and Core Values, laid out in our 2020-2023 Strategic Plan. Work has included forming a First Nations Working Group made up of volunteers who meet regularly to continuously improve our efforts to work with First Nations.
BCMT also believes that the paddling community has much to gain from building relationships with the Indigenous communities in whose territories we paddle. These benefits come in many forms, from relying on First Nations-led emergency services when in remote regions to being shown new routes and sites by local communities who’ve used them.
Our Safety Mandate
BCMT is advocating for a system of marine trails optimized for safety to allow the public to transit the coast based on minimum criteria. The standard to be set is for favourable weather conditions where paddlers have the skill and experience appropriate for the waters they are transiting. This criteria is to be applied to determine where sites should be located in designing a marine trail to meet a minimum standard for safety, to compensate for potentially unsafe conditions along marine trail routes, and to flag areas where site choices are insufficient to meet minimal standards, thereby indicating the public is at risk in these locations.
A Marine Trail is a network of launch sites, day use, safety stops and campsites that facilitates safe travel along its length.
Marine routes for paddlers already span the entire BC Coast, with the exception of small sections where naturally-powered craft are specifically prohibited. The BCMT challenge is that a route must be supported by formal, secured access to shore for launching, landing, resting/refuge and camping in order for a marine route to be a usable and safe Marine Trails.
Caring for our trails
The Caring for our trails program has several key components: site maintenance (helping maintain our 14 recreation sites), Environmental Care Program - including our new marine Code of Conduct (currently under peer review), invasive species removal (i.e. Gerald Island), Site Condition Reporting, and a West Coast Plastics clean up.