Chairperson, Regional District of Nanaimo
Regional Parks and Trails' vision being realized
On April 19, the day picnic, beach, and boat launch area at Horne Lake Regional Park opened to the public. The following weekend we celebrated the official opening of the Fern Road Woods Trail, the "green door" to Qualicum Beach. And at the south end of the Regional District, construction will soon start on a 42-metre bridge over Haslam Creek in Electoral Area C (Extension), extending another section of the Trans Canada Trail.
Much progress has been made recently in realizing the vision of a system of regional parks and a network of public trails connecting communities and local and provincial parks. In the past six years, the Regional District of Nanaimo has been able to add four new parks to its Regional Parks System and open five new trails in the Regional Trails System. This achievement is largely due to successful public private partnerships involving community groups, private landowners, government and the efforts of individual volunteers throughout the region.
Horne Lake is the RDN's newest and largest Regional Park. Located in Electoral Area H, the 260-acre property was transferred to the RDN as park dedication after the rezoning of 3,000 acres of land surrounding Horne Lake.
With its forests, mountain views, lake and river frontages, boating opportunities, campgrounds and access to Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park, Horne Lake Regional Park is sure to become a top destination for residents and tourists coming to the Region. That attraction can only grow as more than 30 kilometres of hiking, cycling, and horse-riding trails are developed along the Big Qualicum River, the north side of Horne Lake, and all the way to Port Alberni.
Another big benefit of trails is that they encourage people to get out of their cars by making cycling and walking an appealing alternative to driving between major centres. The Fern Wood Roads Trail is a pretty stretch of green space that leads into the Town of Qualicum Beach's trails and completes the Parksville Qualicum Links. This low traffic roadway between Parksville and Qualicum Beach with its pedestrian/cyclist bridge over French Creek enables school kids, seniors and people who enjoy walking and biking to travel between these major centres without having to use the highway.
We've recently updated our information on Regional Parks and Trails. Check the Recreation and Parks section of the RDN Website at www.rdn.bc.ca or pick up a brochure on the Regional Trail System in the Oceanside area. They're available at the RDN Office in Nanaimo and at the District 69 Arena in Parksville and Ravensong Aquatic Centre in Qualicum Beach. Watch for more news about parks and trails this summer, and as our Regional Trails Coordinator says, "Go Trails!".