Published On: Thursday, 28 July 2016

North Island Communities Plan ATV Trail Network to Draw Visitors

North Island Communities Plan ATV Trail Network to Draw Visitors

COURTENAY – The Village of Tahsis is taking the next steps in creating an off-road ATV trail system to bring new visitors to the region.

Partnering with the Village of Zeballos, Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation, Ehattesaht First Nation and working with more than ten other regional stakeholders, the communities will be developing a comprehensive business case and plan. The Island Coastal Economic Trust is contributing 50% of the $30,000 project budget.

An economic development strategy prepared by Zeballos in 2013 identified recreational trails as a potentially strong tourist draw. A subsequent strategy developed in Tahsis in 2014 prioritized working with the local First Nations to develop new tourism experiences as a way to attract new visitors to the region.

“Creating a network of ATV trails, developing the marketing tools to promote it, and all the other components of this project requires a great deal of collaboration and cooperation,” said ICET Chair Phil Kent. “Bringing together local government, First Nations, the Province of BC, and private sector partners requires significant effort, but it also means a stronger probability of success in attracting new visitors and economic activity.”

Creating the business case will include everything from trail development plans and route designs, to market research and economic impact assessments.

"Since the completion of our economic development strategies, the Villages of Tahsis and Zeballos in partnership with the Mowachaht/Muchalaht, Ehattesaht First Nation and our other partners, have been exploring the multi-use trail network concept," said Tahsis Mayor Jude Schooner. "We're intent on moving from the preliminary planning stages into concrete action as quickly as possible, and that's a gratifying step."

This phase of the project is funded through the ‘Quick Start’ module of ICET’s Economic Development Readiness Program. The key objective of the Program is rapid implementation of action items identified in recent economic development strategies.

“There are miles and miles of deactivated logging roads crisscrossing the region, and we realized that we have a great opportunity to showcase the region and its history by creating a great trail network,” said Zeballos Mayor Donn Cox. “By working in partnership, we can create real change for our communities.”