Hiking enthusiasts in British Columbia (Canada) have a new reason to explore the stunning Juan de Fuca Marine Trail on southern Vancouver Island.
The province has invested CA$905,000 in upgrading the popular trail with 50 new elevated tent platforms at five backcountry campgrounds, providing a more comfortable camping experience during bad weather while protecting sensitive habitat.
This marks the largest single investment in improvements to the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail in recent years, with approximately CA$2.1 million invested in new bridges, boardwalks, stairs, and food caches at multiple locations along the trail over the past four years.
The upgrades are part of a CA$21.5-million investment to expand and enhance opportunities for outdoor recreation throughout the province, including new campsites and trails, and improvements to existing facilities.
“Camping and outdoor recreation is more popular than ever, which is why we are investing in the infrastructure that will enhance people’s connection with B.C.’s beautiful natural spaces,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.
“The new tent platforms, along with other significant upgrades along the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail in recent years, improve visitors’ experiences while they enjoy this amazing backcountry hike that showcases the beauty and power of B.C.’s coast.”
In addition to the new tent platforms, other infrastructure improvements on the trail include approximately 600 metres of stepped boardwalk, 20 new staircases, and 19 new foot bridges between the Little Kuitshe Creek Campground and Parkinson Creek trailhead. At Kuitshe Creek, a new engineered bridge was installed and a damaged engineered bridge was replaced at Hoard Creek.
The Juan de Fuca Marine Trail spans part of Vancouver Island’s southwest coast and is designed mainly for strenuous day or multi-day hiking, with campsites located in rugged, isolated areas. The trail traverses a rugged environment that is often subject to wet and extreme weather conditions. Before heading out, hikers are advised to check the park website for advisories and be prepared for uneven ground and slippery conditions on muddy trails, wooden surfaces, boulders, and rocky shorelines.
The recent upgrades will not only enhance the overall hiking experience but also improve accessibility for people who use wheelchairs, strollers, or have other accessibility challenges. The new front-country campsite developments include universal design standards, ensuring that people living with disabilities can enjoy outdoor activities with fewer barriers.
Hikers are reminded that a portion of the trail between Little Kuitshe Creek campground and the Parkinson Creek trailhead remains closed to finish infrastructure upgrades. The trail will fully re-open on May 17, 2023.