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Spine trail gathering happening in Comox Valley

The Comox Valley will host the inaugural conference of the Vancouver Island Spine Trail Association, intended to build momentum towards completing a 700-kilometre tip-to-tip wilderness trail traversing the Island's 'spine' from Victoria to Cape Scott.

The event is at the Kingfisher Resort and Oceanside Spa in Royston on May 31 and June 1. Adventurer/backcountry guidebook author Phil Stone is the keynote speaker.

"This conference is about building the excitement and capacity needed to complete a marquee outdoor feature for the enjoyment and benefit of our Vancouver Island communities and visitors alike," VISTA president Andrew Pape-Salmon said. "Phil has over 25 years of experience climbing, hiking, kayaking and sailing to the most remote places on Vancouver Island."

Representatives from the Comox District Mountaineering Club will attend the conference.

"An Island-long trail connecting communities from Victoria to Cape Scott could contribute to tourism opportunities in those communities along the way, including the Comox Valley," CDMC president Pam Munroe said. "Our preference would be to see this trail support non-motorized access."

Day One of the conference features speakers and panels focused on co-ordinating and expanding the Island's networks of trails, best practices for new trail construction, and maximizing economic opportunities from trail-based developments and tourism. Day Two will feature guided hiking, mountain biking and trail running events on existing portions of the VI Spine trail.

Early bird registration ends March 31. Register at http://vispine.ca.

"This is an ambitious project with a tight timeline but we know there is more than enough passion and determination on Vancouver Island to make the full spine trail a reality," Pape-Salmon said. "Working together, we'll create a shared outdoor legacy to be enjoyed by generations to come."

The trail is one-third complete. VISTA hopes to finish the project in 2017 to align with completion of the TransCanada Trail, which shares the VI Spine route along sections of the South Island.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

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