Pacific Rim National Park - trail design with new vision and potential

A real highlight of our initial travel for the 2014 season, the next Parks Canada visit for the Trail Care Crew (TCC) took us north on Vancouver island to Pacific Rim National Park.  Located on the breathtaking west side of Vancouver Island, Pacific Rim NP has a very wet and cool maritime climate that supports a lush rainforest ecosystem.

As part of the visit, the TCC was asked to provide site and trail assessment work, along with a Trail Building School (TBS) dedicated to training park staff.  The discussion was centred on using sustainable trail building techniques that could utilize terrain suitable for bench-cut trails along the southern coastline of the park.

Currently, a number of the trails rely on a substantial amount boardwalk, bridges, and stairs, built from locally sourced cedar, to make their way through the lush rainforest along the coastline.  One hurdle however, is the rate at which the moisture decays the wooden structures, which typically last a minimum of a decade in the rainforest conditions of the area.

The conceptualized shoreline ridge trail would use a bench-cut technique for construction of the trail along the side slope.  This concept trail also has the potential to provide a connection between the park and adjacent lands, thereby increasing the capacity for tourism and community integration with the First Nation groups in the area.

We look forward to seeing further development of alternative trail methods and techniques that will foster new approaches to current practices in this very unique and demanding environment.  The TCC wants to thank the Parks Staff for their extensive support during our visit.

One thing we can be sure of, the beauty and uniqueness of the trails in Pacific Rim National Park, are going to provide stunning and unforgettable experiences to visitors, for years to come.

mountain