By Cindy Filipenko
“Working to create and maintain an
interconnected network of multi-use trails and green spaces” just got
easier in the Pemberton Valley.
The Pemberton Valley Trails Association (PVTA) has been granted an annual $50,000 allocation to fulfill the aforementioned mandate. The decision that the Village of Pemberton and Squamish-Lillooet Regional District Joint Ops Committee fund the six-year-old organization was made at the SLRD’s last board of directors meeting. The motion, introduced by VOP Mayor Jordan Sturdy last fall, was approved after the issue had been taken to the community, with only six people responding to the counter petition.
The funds will help to ensure that enhancement of this recreational resource will continue.
“This is great news,” said membership chair, Jan Naylor. “The money will allow the SLRD to pay for staff to negotiate with agencies, such as the Department of Highways, Department of Forestry and CN, on our behalf. We’ve been doing the best we can, but we really need the Regional District to be able to do these things.”
But the newly passed Pemberton Valley Trails Service Establishment Bylaw, whose funds will be administered by the Joint Ops Committee, will mean more than just money for staffing costs.
“It will also allow money for maintenance and building trails, creating matching funds for 50-cent dollars and planning,” explained Naylor.
In the past the group has been funded by membership fees, donations, Electoral Area C funds and grants sourced on its own and with the help of Trails of B.C.
“Last year Susie Gimse gave us $10,000 and I think it was about the same the year before,” said Naylor of Area C’s contribution.
The money helped cover the group’s core costs, which include carrying $5 million in liability insurance.
Currently, the PVTA supports 100 trails in the network, including hiking, horseback riding or mountain biking and any combination thereof. The PVTA area extends from Signal Hill to the recreation area surrounding Mosquisto Lake and from Mt. Currie up the valley to the Ryan River. The sheer number of trails was making it difficult for the volunteer organization to maintain what it had, never mind create new trails.
“This is something Jordan (Sturdy) should be proud of,” said Naylor.
A longtime proponent of trails, Naylor estimates use of a trail adjacent to her and her husband’s property at between 40 and 100 people a day. Currently, the PVTA has 125 paid memberships (some are family memberships), but as with most volunteer organizations the workload falls to a few.
“We might be looking at hiring a coordinator to help take over the trails and help organize volunteers,” said Naylor, pointing out that this is done in a number of communities including Rossland and Whistler.
In the meantime the PVTA remains very much a volunteer operated organization. This Saturday, April 14, the PVTA is holding trail clean-up day. Interested parties are asked to join the PVTA at the Pemberton Bike Co. for a pancake breakfast at 8 a.m. Once there, volunteers will receive instructions to get the trails back in shape for the spring and summer. For more information about the PVTA, visit: www.pembertontrails.ca .