The Capital Regional District (CRD) Board has approved the CRD Regional Parks 2017 annual report. It summarizes the actions and accomplishments related to the CRD’s parks and trails system, which is part of a network of parks and protected areas located across the region.
The CRD parks and trails system is comprised of more than 13,000 hectares of natural areas on southern Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands. It consists of 31 regional parks and reserves and 3 regional trails. The regional parks system serves a range of recreational, ecological, green space and amenity purposes. The regional trails serve both a transportation and recreation function.
Highlights from the 2017 report include:
- Two new properties were acquired for addition to the regional parks system; a 15-hectare parcel for Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park, and a 26-hectare waterfront property known as St. John Point on Mayne Island.
- $3 million was spent on major capital construction projects. This included $1.4 million on the E&N Rail Trail – Humpback Connector; $570,000 on the Great Trail in Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park, and $411,000 on the sewer line installation at Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park.
- Visits to regional parks and regional trails continued to increase. Over the past 5 years, there was an increase of over 1 million visits, or 18%. In 2013 there were 6,163,446 visits; 2015 had 6,950,136 visits; and in 2017, there was a total of 7,289,090 visits. The three regional trails continue to receive the highest visitation at 3.6 million total visits in 2017.
- Management planning was initiated for Matthews Point Regional Park on Galiano Island and for the Gulf Islands Regional Trails.
- A review was done on the condition of bridges and trestles along the Galloping Goose and Lochside Regional Trails. The results of the review will be used to set priorities and update the 10-year plan for largescale capital projects.
- New wayfinding, trail and regulatory signs were installed at the Galloping Goose & Lochside Regional Trails, and Kapoor, Lone Tree Hill, Sooke Potholes and Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Parks.
- Over 500 environmental interpretation programs were offered. School programs drew 3,149 participants; community outreach events reached 2,218 participants; and nature outings and events were enjoyed by 5,631 participants of all ages and abilities.
- 2017 marked the 35th anniversary of volunteers at Regional Parks. 434 volunteers contributed over 5,100 hours of time pursuing their passion for parks. This included 171 restoration volunteers who worked with staff in the Resource Conservation Program.
- 271 permits were issued for events in the parks and generated $13,277 in revenue. This included 136 group picnic shelter permits; 70 special event permits; 18 commercial service permits; and 7 commercial filming permits. Regional parks act as natural laboratories and in support of that, 24 research permits were reviewed and issued.