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BC Trails Day includes over 60 communities, including Qathet

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British Columbia is preparing to celebrate BC Trails Day next Saturday, June 1st.

This annual event is a province-wide celebration that highlights the importance of trails and outdoor recreation to the physical, mental and environmental health of our communities. BC Trails Day also recognizes the invaluable contributions of volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to maintaining and improving these trails for all to enjoy.

Organized by the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC (ORCBC) in partnership with local recreation and management organizations, municipalities and land managers, BC Trails Day includes more than 60 community events across the province, including group hikes and rides to trail cleanups, campouts, training on trail building and responsible recreation, and activities to introduce new trail users to outdoor recreation.

Participating communities include Qathet Region, Black Creek, Burnaby, Burns Lake, Chilliwack, Christina Lake, Clearwater, Colwood, Courtenay, Creston, Cumberland, Delta, Denman Island, Elkford, Fernie, Gabriola, Gambier Island, Golden, Grand Forks, Grasmere, Hope, Invermere, Jordan River, Kamloops, Kelowna, Kimberley, Langley, Logan Lake, Maple Ridge, Mission, Pemberton, Port Alberni, Prince George, Qualicum, Revelstoke, Rossland, Saanich, Salmo, Salmon Arm, Saturna Island, Scotch Creek, Sicamous, Spruston, Squamish, Surrey, Terrace, Vancouver, Victoria, Williams Lake and more.

The event in the Qathet area is called Sentinel Trail Day and is organized by the Knuckleheads Winter Recreation Association. Meet on Dixon Road (9am) to carpool. Alternatively, meet at the trailhead at 10am when a group hike to the Vic Cole Cabin begins. From there, it's up to the cabin where Knuckleheads burgers are prepared for lunch before cleaning up and continuing the hike.

“We're excited that BC Trails Day is getting bigger every year, bringing people from all walks of life together to celebrate and care for our incredible trails,” ORCBC Executive Director Louise Pedersen said in a press release. “Trails not only provide opportunities for physical activity and recreation, but they also serve as an important connection to nature and the communities around us. This Saturday, we encourage everyone to get outside, explore their local trails and discover the beauty of British Columbia.”

Here are some ways to celebrate BC Trails Day with your family or friends:

● Search for a local event or register your own event.

● Go for a walk, ride or paddle and have fun. If you bring four-legged friends, remember to bring a leash and poop bags.

● Pack a small trash bag and gloves and pick up any trash you see along the trail to keep trails clean and safe for other users and nearby wildlife.

● Join a local outdoor group to show your support for your favorite trails. Your membership helps maintain trails and promote your community's trail systems.

● Share a social media post about why you celebrate hiking for a chance to win amazing prizes. Tag #BCTrailsDay and ORCBC (Instagram: orcbc.ca) to be entered into the drawing.

BC Trails Day also focuses on recognizing and honoring the countless volunteers who dedicate their time, energy and passion to maintaining British Columbia's trails and recreational facilities, the press release states.

“These dedicated volunteers play an important role in British Columbia's outdoor spaces: clearing fallen debris, trimming vegetation, repairing trail infrastructure, leading educational hikes and advocating for sustainable trail use.”

The exact number of volunteer trail wardens in BC and the number of hours they work have not been comprehensively counted. However, Recreation Sites and Trails BC (RSTBC) has Law on forest and pasture usehas 388 partnership agreements with recreation groups covering over 1,000 sites and trails. They work indirectly with 8,812 volunteers who contribute nearly 400,000 hours, the press release said.

ORCBC survey data shows that only 60 percent of outdoor recreation groups officially partner with the RSTBC, meaning thousands of volunteers and their hours likely go unrecognized.

“Volunteers truly form the backbone of our trail system,” added Pedersen. “Their dedication and tireless efforts are critical to ensuring our trails remain safe, accessible and enjoyable for all. BC Trails Day provides a platform to recognize their invaluable contributions to our communities. For trail users who want to give back, there is an opportunity to join a local recreation group and contribute to ongoing trail maintenance and advocacy for the trail systems in their community.”

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