The Bella Coola Trails Alliance recently held its first public meeting in several years, in an effort to engage more community members and expand its volunteer base. The community response was excellent, the event was well attended and many ideas were presented for maintaining and expanding the recreational infrastructure of the valley.
The Trails Alliance operates as a subcommittee of the Bella Coola Resources Society, initiated in 2015 and operated by a small group of volunteers. The founding concept of the Trails Alliance is to serve as an umbrella over the numerous recreational user groups and competing land-use interests in the valley; an inclusive forum to integrate concerns and ideas into a comprehensive recreational development and operating plan for all valley residents and visitors.
So far in its five years of operation, the Trails Alliance secured funding and managed the recent mountain bike trail developments, cultivated a 600-plus member Facebook group, developed an online database of hiking and rock climbing routes, and has been hosting annual slideshows at the Mountain Lodge.
Following the last meeting, the Trails Alliance is renewing its invitation to the wider community; whether it’s participating in the core admin group, volunteering for trail maintenance, or just to offer suggestions and concerns — all input is appreciated.
Every community manages recreational development in its own way, yet there are common issues — such as access, maintenance, competing interest management — that require a collective approach.
The Trails Alliance aims to be that collective, and from the beginning has invited all interested parties to join in and add to the discussion.
All valley residents stand to benefit from increased outdoor recreation in the valley; many of us moved here for the wilderness, and a collaborative approach to development (access, trailhead facilities, alpine routes, huts etc.) is required to mitigate land-use conflicts on the one hand, and maximize development funds and energy on the other.
The Bella Coola Valley is — as we know — a stunning and exceptional exhibit of natural splendor. A rare combination of mountain, river and ocean landscapes; easing access to our wilderness areas benefits us all.
If you’re interested in getting more involved, contact us via the Trails Alliance general page (https://www.facebook.com/bellacoolatrailsalliance), or find an adventure partner on our backcountry page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/bella.coola.wild/), or peruse our trails database (https://bellacoolatrails.ca/).