Regional District of Nanaimo | Regional Parks and Trails Plan

Regional Parks & Trails Plan

RDN Rec & Parks - Haslam Bridge Regional Parks & Trails Plan - 2005-2015

With ocean shores, lakes, waterfalls, and forests just minutes away from most residents, it's easy to see why the vision of a system of parks and interconnecting trails is catching on in the RDN. By renewing the RDN's Regional Parks Plan, the Recreation and Parks Department is turning that vision into reality.

Some History

A regional park function was established in the RDN in 1989. In 1995, the Regional Board adopted a Parks System Plan to guide the development of Regional Parks. The vision back then was of a park system that "secures, protects and stewards lands within the Region that maintain livability, provide environmental and natural resource protection and accommodate outdoor recreational pursuits".

Then, in 1998, the Board approved a plan for acquiring up to nine regional park sites over the next seven years. The sites were intended to serve a variety of outdoor activities, and protect a range of habitats and natural features.

The Regional Park System Today The Regional District now has a range of recreation opportunities in the Regional Parks and Trails system ranging from hiking on a mountain trail to camping on the oceanfront or a lakefront. The system includes the following Parks and Trails. [ Click Here for more detailed information ] :

  • Beachcomber Regional Park
  • Benson Creek Falls Regional Park
  • Mount Benson Regional Park
  • Little Qualicum River Regional Park
  • Little Qualicum River Estuary Regional Conservation Area
  • Nanaimo River Regional Park
  • Descanso Bay Regional Park - Gabriola Island
  • Horne Lake Regional Park
  • Englishman River Regional Park
  • Top Bridge Trail from Rathtrevor Provincial Park
  • Parksville - Qualicum links
  • Arrowsmith Trail
  • Lighthouse Country Trail
  • Big Qualicum River DFO Hatchery Trails
  • Morden Colliery Trail
  • Trans Canada Trail / Harewood Mines Road to Haslam Creek Suspension Bridge / Timberlands Road
Regional Parks and Trails operational and development costs as well as acquisition costs for new Regional Parks are funded by the four municipalities in the RDN (City of Nanaimo, District of Lantzville, City of Parksville and Town of Qualicum Beach) as well as the all eight electoral areas.


Updating the Regional Parks Plan

The RDN has changed significantly since 1995. Having achieved many of the objectives of the 1995 Regional Parks Plan, the RDN has reviewed and redefined the future direction, policies, priorities and actions for regional parks for the next 10 years. In reviewing the Regional Parks Plan, the RDN examined the following areas:

  • Vision and philosophy - balancing recreation with natural area protection.
  • Management of lands and waters within the Parks.
  • Future acquisition priorities.
  • Development and operations - what should happen in each park and who should be involved.
  • Funding - how to pay for park and trail acquisition and operation.

(It's important to note that the RDN also operates a variety of community parks in each of the electoral areas that serve the local residents primarily. While recognizing the importance of links to community parks, the Regional Parks System Plan focuses on the goals and functions of regional parks and trail systems.)

Review and Adoption of Regional Parks and Trail Plan

The park plan review process began in July of 2004, and has included a series of public open houses, survey questionnaires, meetings with stakeholder groups and land management agencies, as well as regular meetings of the Board appointed Parks Plan Review Select Committee.

Following the final set of public open houses held in December 2004, a draft of RDN Regional Parks and Trails Plan was completed and available for public review and comments. Based on the additional input through public comments and stakeholder groups on the draft plan, the final version of the plan was completed.

On March 22, 2005 the Regional Parks and Trail Plan was approved by the Regional Board as a document to guide the acquisition and development of the Regional District's Regional Parks and Trails function.

Links to Regional Parks and Trails Maps:
Questions or Comments?
Contact RDN Parks Services at
250-248-4744 (1-888-828-2069)
or email recparks [at] (recparks[at]rdn[dot]bc)