Policies and strategies
Recreation Sites and Trails B.C. (RSTBC) is working on a variety of strategies, initiatives, and policies to ensure the effective management, safety and enjoyment of British Columbia's extensive recreational resources.
On this page:
Strategies and initiatives:
- Provincial trail strategy
- Sea to Sky corridor recreation trail strategy
- Rail trails in B.C.
- Mount Seymour recreation access management plan
B.C.’s many and diverse recreation trails offer significant health, economic, social, cultural, heritage and environmental benefits — and a wide variety of outdoor experiences. The Province began developing a trails strategy in early 2007. A draft Recreation Trails Strategy for British Columbia was released to the public in fall 2008. Next, a comprehensive public review process took place in 10 communities across the province. Once all input was reviewed, a final Provincial Trail Strategy was approved.
The Province of British Columbia recognizes the value of a vibrant, diverse and sustainable network of trails that offers unparalleled opportunities and benefits to individuals and communities by:
- Connecting people with the natural environment
- Promoting a healthy active lifestyle
- Serving as economic drivers through tourism and outdoor recreation
- Linking to the Indigenous heritage of BC
Recreation Sites and Trails BC has been working with consultants, local governments, First Nations and stakeholders on a comprehensive trail strategy for the Sea to Sky Corridor — the first of its kind in B.C. The strategy responds to unprecedented recent growth, the area’s closeness to the Lower Mainland, competing stakeholder expectations, and complex land-use issues. It concerns the management and maintenance of recreation trails on a regional basis and includes a legal framework for authorizing and establishing the vast majority of previously unauthorized trails on Crown land.
B.C. is rich in abandoned railway corridors, and over the past 20 years the Province has acquired some of them to help create an outstanding recreational trail experience. Today, many rail trails are managed through partnerships with regional districts, municipalities, other provincial agencies, and volunteer groups – and, in some cases, are owned outright by regional or municipal governments.
In 2011, the B.C. Government legally established the Kettle Valley, Slocan Valley and Columbia & Western rail trails as recreation trails under the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA). Totaling 550km, all three are components of the Trans Canada Trail. These established trails are now the responsibility of the B.C. Government's Recreation Sites &Trails BC (RSTBC) branch, and are managed cooperatively with community partners. The B.C. Government also owns the Great Northern and Cowichan Valley rail trails.
Recreation Sites and Trails B.C. (RSTBC) and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) are developing a Recreation Access Management Plan (RAMP) for high recreation value trails on Mt. Seymour.
Learn more about the Mt. Seymour RAMP project
Electric bikes (e-bikes) have become increasingly popular in recent years as an alternative form of transportation and a new recreation activity. Recognizing this as an emerging use of Crown land, Recreation Sites and Trails BC has created a policy to clarify e-bike use on established recreation trails. The policy acknowledges e-biking as an allowable activity on Crown land where permitted, and supports Recreation Sites and Trails BC to work with Partnership Agreement holders, communities and other stakeholders to fairly and consistently evaluate e-bike activity relative to current trail uses and use restrictions. The policy only applies to established trails managed by Recreation Sites and Trails BC and does not apply to trails managed by BC Parks or vacant provincial public land, local government or trails on private land.
A mountain bike policy for B.C. was developed in 2006 and updated in 2013 with the assistance of key stakeholders and government agencies. The policy recognizes mountain biking as a legitimate and important recreation activity on Crown land, and supports managing and administering mountain bike trails through partnerships between the Province and user groups. A framework for managing risk and liability associated with mountain bike trails is a key component.
At campsites where fees are collected, campers arriving with more than one vehicle may be assessed an additional vehicle fee.