The Cowichan Valley Trail is another step closer to becoming a continuous 120-kilometre non-motorized path across the region.
The 4.3 km Saltair Rail With Trail project was officially opened with a ceremony Friday, connecting Ladysmith, Saltair and Chemainus with a three-metre wide compacted gravel surface that’s gently graded and suitable for walking, cycling and equestrian use.
“Our region continues to make great strides towards becoming one of the most livable areas in Canada and this section of trail is a prime example of how we’re contributing to that reputation,” noted Ian Morrison, chair of the Cowichan Valley Regional District.
“We’re thankful for the support we received from our funding partners to make this project possible and that of the communities to fulfill the vision of creating a fully-integrated piece of The Great Trail.”
The route includes a stunning 27-metre single-span bridge across Stocking Creek and scenic views of Mount Brenton and the Gulf Islands.
As the trail passes through Saltair, side trips for hiking into Stocking Creek Park are readily accessible. Users can view the park waterfall and stroll alongside the creek before continuing back onto the Cowichan Valley Trail.
“We’re thrilled to have supported the development of the Saltair Rail With Trail project,” indicated Trisha Kaplan, trail development manager for Western and Northern Canada at Trans Canada Trail. “The Cowichan Valley is an iconic destination and we believe projects like this make the trail here even more enjoyable.”
The Cowichan Valley Trail is part of The Great Trail, the coast-to-coast network. The 200 km route on southern Vancouver Island begins in Victoria and concludes at the BC Ferries Departure Bay terminal in Nanaimo.
The Ladysmith-Saltair-Chemainus section of the Cowichan Valley Trail was made possible by financial contributions from the Federal Gas Tax Fund program, Bike BC, Provincial Rural Dividend Fund, Trans Canada Trails, Mosaic Forest Management and private donations.
‘We are proud to work with our partners to develop this world class trail through the simply stunning natural beauty of the Cowichan Valley,” noted Jeff Zweig, president and CEO of Mosaic Forest Management.
One final gap of slightly more than 12 km remains in the Cowichan Valley Trail from just south of Chemainus to Highway 18 near Somenos Road to bring the entire network to completion.