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One of the ongoing task of BC Marine Trails is to conduct Site Assessments on sites or potential sites that are not well-known or documented. Typically, a site is first reported by a paddler or data are taken from a guidebook, but that information usually needs verifying. Almost every site is then discussed with the local First Nation to determine whether they might have any objection (cultural, economic, environmental) to its disclosure for recreational use. Before entering into such discussions, it is important for BCMT to have reliable information about the site’s suitability and strategic value for marine trail continuity.
For the past several years, I have made Spring or Summer boat trips in a very small power boat to perform such site assessments, mostly in the relatively sheltered waters of the Strait of Georgia, Johnstone Strait, Discovery Islands, Sechelt Inlet etc. In 2023, a companion and I made 2 trips of about a week each from Powell River and Port McNeill, camping at remote sites as we traveled at total of about 550 NM and visited and documented around 200 potential sites.
While there are still lots of sites remaining to be assessed in the southern waters, BC Marine Trails’ focus is shifting to the Central and North Coasts. These areas are more challenging for all boaters and that suggests we adopt different approaches for Site Assessments.
Sometimes solo or group paddling expeditions can be highly effective in visiting numerous sites along a route, but BCMT’s experience with getting good site data and photos from such efforts has been mixed, at best.
For 2024, we are exploring the idea of a trip by either paddlers or in a small power boat (e,g, inflatable 15’ dinghy) supported by a ‘mothership’, with a scheduled (possibly nightly) rendezvous.
I would be pleased to hear from any member who has suggestions as to who we might approach to assist us with this, preferably on a volunteer/cost sharing basis (e.g. BCMT could pay for fuel and other boat expenses). If the mothership were already located in Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Pt Hardy or similar northern location, travel time and expense would be reduced. I’m also keen to find volunteers to assist as crew. This could be for any area i.e. southern waters in only a small power boat, as was done in 2023, or areas north of Cape Caution, with a support vessel.
Time commitment would be 2 – 6 weeks during May – July. The site assessment work is quite strenuous because it involves frequent landings on a wide variety of often slippery shores and purposeful wandering around rough sites, sometimes in heavy vegetation.
Join BCMT’s crew and see the world (or a small, beautiful part of it!)
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