The aims of Gabriola Land and Trails Trust are to secure, develop, and sustain a network of parkland and trails on Gabriola Island for the benefit of the public, and to preserve sites of environmental, historical, and social importance. ⇐ Click the green buttons to find out more. Connect with us on Facebook
Pick up our 2016 edition trail map for $5 at North Rd Sports & Clothing, at Mid-Island Co-op, or at the tourist info centre.
Rob Brockley organizes GaLTT's volunteer trail-work parties and we have a team of volunteer trail stewards who walk "their" trails regularly and report needed maintenance work to Rob. If you would like to be a trail steward or work crew volunteer, please contact Rob by email.
Check out our Gabriola big tree registry. Nearly 80 of Gabriola's biggest trees are now listed—lots of west coast species, from arbutus to yew. Did we miss yours?
Broom-bashing with the Lions Club April 30 & May 14
Rob Brockley says: "The Scotch broom is in bloom, so it's the perfect time for the annual broom bash at Drumbeg Provincial Park. By working together for several years, GaLTT volunteers and Gabriola Lions Club members have been hugely successful in reducing the amount of this highly invasive, non-native plant in the park. To minimize soil disturbance, the best practice is to cut stems that are larger than finger width at, or below, ground level before seed pods ripen. Extractigators can be used to pull small plants."
There will be two "broom-bashes" in the next few weeks:
Sunday, April 30, 1.30pm, at Drumbeg Park
Sunday, May 14, 1.30pm, on Church Road near the Fire Hall.
Come out and help! GaLTT's Extractigators and strong clippers will be available.
Forest bathing walk in Elder Cedar May 3
GaLTT will recognise Mental Health Awareness Week by joining with PHC and Gabriola Health & Wellness Collaborative for a soothing "forest bathing" walk in Elder Cedar Nature Reserve, starting at 3.30pm on Wednesday May 3.
Commons Spring Fair May 7
GaLTT and the Streamkeepers will be at Gabriola Commons' Spring Fair. Kick the summer season off by visiting our table to tell us about your favorite trail or stream. Renew your membership! Buy a self-guided walk brochure or trail map!
Thursday May 11, 7pm at The Roxy
GaLTT & Museum joint presentation about invasive plants
GaLTT is joining with Gabriola’s Museum to present a panel discussion about Gabriola’s invasive plants and how to remove them from your own and public property. Admission by donation. Mark your calendars and bring your friends!
Speakers will be Joanne Soanes from Broombusters, Sunshine Goldsberry from the Friends of French Creek (experts in removing Hogweed on Vancouver Island), and Wendy McPherson from Maple Bay, who is an expert on Tansy ragwort. Daphne laurel and Japanese knotweed will also be discussed, as well as some invasive plants that gardeners love, with suggestions for alternate plantings.
GaLTT and the Museum have co-produced a new illustrated brochure about Gabriola’s invasive plants, which you can buy at the talk for only a toonie, or later at the Saturday Farmers' Markets.
2017 EVENT REPORTS
Not really our mandate, but GaLTT loves all things wild, so on April 9 at The Roxy, we co-sponsored (with GROWLS and Streamkeepers) a heartening presentation by Jackie Hildering, Humpback Researcher and Education Director of Marine Education and Research Society. She described the remarkable come-back of humpbacks to our coast and showed some wonderful pictures of their fishing techniques and startling interactions with boats. We also heard their beautiful song.
Guided walk through proposed parkland near Coats Marsh & 707.
On March 25 GaLTT guides led 54 Gabriolans on a walk (with permission) through the private forest ‘Donor Lands’ of the Potlatch-Henning density transfer application. They explored the beautiful existing trails in the 300 acres of forest land that will become wilderness park in perpetuity if the proposed bylaw changes are approved.
Trail trimming and broom pulling
It had been about a year since GaLTT's volunteers had groomed the trail from Stalker Road (near the entrance to Drumbeg Provincial Park) to the beach just north of the park. So, on March 25, Rob's crew trimmed back the salal and pulled small broom seedlings.
February and March Trail work bees on Windecker Drive access trail into Elder Cedar Lots of snow in early February gave us a scheduling challenge for trail work and for our AGM, but on February 19, our volunteer work crews made an excellent start on the Windecker Drive trail improvement project.
We removed vegetation, levelled the grade, and dug a drainage ditch beside the trail route. On March 5, another vigorous team shovelled gravel to improve the mucky trail access.
On February 24, the Girl Guides helped us pull broom in petroglyph park, clearing a swath of new seedlings before it gets out of hand. Thanks Girls!
February 22 speaker and AGM
Over 50 people turned out to the Roxy to hear Elke Wind talk about amphibians. Although in many areas such as California they are severely threatened by climate change and by invasive species such as bullfrogs, they are doing reasonably well in the cool, damp, forests of the northwest. They have semi-permeable skin and need access to both aquatic and terrestrial habitat, particularly ephemeral water bodies without fish (which eat their tadpoles).
After the talk 37 people attended the AGM, to hear reports of a succesful year in which GaLTT used some of its restricted funds to donate $10,000 toward the purchase of parkland adjacent to Dodd Narrows on Mudge Island. We sadly said goodbye to long-serving Director John Peirce, who leaves us to serve as Vice President of American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts, and to Madeleine Ani. The new Board was elected by acclamation, including three new Directors: Peter Danenhower, Nola Johnston, and Lou Skinner.
The three top trail work volunteers were honored for their huge contributions: Frank Rotering clocked 78 hours single-handedly managing Haven Woods in 2016. Peter Hellenius and Jamie Doig were thanked also for clocking 25 and 30 hours respectively. All were given new clippers a or shears. The lovely door prize basket of goodies was won by Peter Hellenius.
After finishing up the heavy duty winter trail management in Cox Park, a more relaxed crew gave 707 Community Park a gentle trimming along the Ridge Trail and Trail to Nowhere on January 22.
That week, GaLTT trailwork crews also installed the RDN's lovely new entrance sign and benches in Cox Community Park—finishing a two year project to make the park more user-friendly.
2016 EVENT REPORTS
November and December project
Sturdy workcrews in rubber boots laboured to divert and control the winter flow of rainwater down the trails in Cox Community Park. During three Sunday sessions, they dug and deepened ditches beside the trails, and installed a 14-foot drainage pipe and a series of water bars over drainage rock. It was hard work even hauling the gear in from Taylor Bay Road. At the final snowy session Dr Vannini of Royal Roads University made a video of our work as part of his Gulf Islands project.
October covenant maintenance work
Despite terrible October weather, energetic GaLTT crews filled in the hazardous, old disused well on the Robinson Woods covenanted property. This required some temporary disturbance of the trail and shrubs near the well site, but another energetic crew soon brought in a pile of barkmulch, a dozen wheelbarrows and rakes, and lots of energy to return the area to tranquil beauty, while the landowner happily "supervised".
John Poirier's photograph
The winning raffle ticket for this beautiful photograph of Elder Cedar forest was drawn by John at the last Farmers' Market on Thanksgiving weekend. The winner was Linda Tyler (now of Qualicum) who was delighted to have this reminder of her life on Gabriola. Second prize of lovely jewellery made and donated by Judy Preston was won by Gabriolan Tessa Spero. John and Judy's generous donations allowed GaLTT to raise nearly $1000 for our work on Gabriola's parks and trails. THANKS JOHN AND JUDY!
GaLTT's 2016 summer work
We welcomed many new and renewing members at our market tables all summer, and during The Commons Fall fair. Maps sales were brisk and GaLTT donated the remaining copies of the 2013 trail map edition (with an update insert) to Gertie for free distribution on the local buses. Interest was high in the proposed density-transfer development that could result in over 300 acres more of protected forest parkland in the centre of the island.
During July and August, Rob Brockley, Kerry Marcus, and Bob Weenk guided evening walks in Elder Cedar Nature Reserve and 707 Community Park.
On July 10 our volunteer crew trimmed the trails in Elder Cedar Nature Reserve and, sadly, AGAIN fixed the protective fence and signs after another bout of vandalism.
Throughout July and August crews also continued trimming lesser-known trail loops in 707 Community Park and replacing boardwalks on winter-wet neighbourhood trails.
Trans-Gabriola Trek June 2016
Around 30 people joined the GaLTT guides on June 12 to walk from Descanso Bay Park to Silva Bay. Some chatted, some strode, and some dawdled to look at the wild flowers, but all enjoyed the refreshments at Silva Bay pub afterwards. Gertie carried everyone back to their cars.
Lots of new boardwalk installed
On May 29, an enthusiastic crew carried tools and decking (thanks again Arbutus Lumber!) through Joyce Lockwood Park to the new aluminum bridge, then constructed and installed long stretches of boardwalk over the muddy areas. Your boots will now stay dry during winter and springtime walks on low-lying Kensington Land trails. On June 26 another big group of volunteers installed the second long stretch on the other side of the bridge. What a great project!
Lovely guided coastal woodland walk May 14
Rob Brockley guided a walk through Joyce Lockwood Park and the Kensington Lands enjoying the varying coastal forest ecology as the group moved from damper low-lying areas to drier upland environments.
Annual spring broombash May 1
An enthusiastic group of GaLTT trailwork volunteers and Lions Club members gathered at Drumbeg Park to clear the ever-menacing broom away from the gloriously blooming camas lilies and spring gold in the meadow. It was hard work bending and clipping, but lovely to stroll looking for the smaller invasive plants.
Donation from Arbutus
In early April Arbutus Lumber generously donated and delivered a load of slightly flawed lumber for GaLTT to use to build boardwalks. Thanks guys!
Stalker Road beach trail and Petroglyph trail
On March 6, Rob led a team of volunteers to clip the salal and remove the broom on the trail from Stalker (just before the entrance to Drumbeg), down to the beach. At low tide this trail allows a lovely loop walk back along the beach to Drumbeg Park and up the main park entrance trail to Stalker Road and your car. On March 20 another group clipped salal and installed boardwalks over muddy sections on Petroglyph Trail, the linear park running from Petroglyph Way to South Road behind the Untied Church.
Girl Guides broom-pulling crew February 28
The Gabriola Guides picked all the broom in the Petroglyph Conservancy Area on February 28. It is now broom free for this year. Good work!
Haven Woods trail clipping work party
Rob Brockley's first trail maintenance crew did some clipping in Haven Woods on February 21.
GaLTT guest speakers and AGM February 3
Libby King and and Chuck Desorcy from Greenways Land Trust (based in Campbell River) spoke to us about their inspiring "Adopt-a-trail" program and their work mid-island with several streamkeeper groups. This was followed by our AGM, during which Randy and Lynne Young were awarded Honorary Memberships in GaLTT to acknowledge and thank them for their 10 years of very hard work organizing and participating in GaLTT's trail-work crews. A plaque has been mounted in their honour on the new foot-bridge to the Kensington Lands beyond Joyce Lockwood Park.
New trail loop in Honeysuckle gravel pit
Several volunteers broke a new trail loop to replace a trail closed off by a new house.
Walking options between Honeysuckle and Wild Cherry now are:
start at the end of Honeysuckle, turn right at the open gravel pit area and right again and end up at Colleen
or, turn right at the gravel pit open area and then circle around on the new trail and come out close to Wild Cherry.
Winter broom pulling
In January and February GaLTT's volunteer crews led by Randy Young take advantage of the wet soil to hand-pull young broom plants in Drumbeg and Petroglyph Parks without disturbing the soil too much, exposing seeds to light. In January they and the Lions Club also "extractigated" lots more big broom plants in Drumbeg Park and piled them onto invasive blackberry, killing two birds with one stone. Also Randy and Lynne Young reported that "Hilary Masson and her eight home school ‘Adventure Camp’ kids, used our small extractigators very effectively one morning on the small broom in Drumbeg. Almost all of the small broom is now gone, although every time you turn around, you can see another one."
New year walk January 1
A dozen of us brought the New Year in by walking a beautiful frosty forest loop in the sunshine, led by Kerry Marcus starting from the top of Degnen Road North at 11am.
2015 EVENT REPORTS
Boardwalks installed on Wilkinson Way
During the November rains Wilkinson Way (trail connecting South Road near Dogwood to 707 Community Park) was running like a stream, so Randy's work crews installed sections of boardwalk to aid walkers. Thanks guys!
New signposts in Cox Park November 1
The RDN parks department recently delivered sturdy wood signposts for our lovely, clear directional signs throughout Cox Park. Rob Brockley planned and designed the signs, and Randy's work party started installing them with some heavy spade work on November 1. Thanks all!
End-to-end trail walk October 24
Eighteen of us left Silva Bay at 10am and enjoyed a cool, sunny trek to Surf Lodge. We made brief stops at Tait Road near North Road, and at Tin Can Alley to snack and wait for newcomers (or leave!). The beer at Surf Pub was very welcome, and Gertie took us back to our cars at Silva Bay.
Daphne cull October 18
Our intrepid invasives team culled swathes of toxic daphne laureola (spurge laurel) near Degnen Bay. This invasive evergreen plant that many have severe reactions to, has been taking over the understorey of our forests. Cutting it doesn't work—it must be hauled out by the roots. Check the woods near you and help remove this pest, wearing gloves and goggles. You can borrow an Extractigator tool from GaLTT to pull it out.
WALKWAY in Kensington Lands—September 6
Randy's trail work team carried a narrow aluminum walkway (bought by GaLTT) through Joyce Lockwood Park, and installed it across the gully to improve trail access to Kensington Lands.
Wood decking was attached, and the frame locked into place above the old rotting wood "bridge". That's better!
Summer Guided Walks and market display tables throughout July and August
Bob Weenk, Rob Brockley and Kerry Marcus guided afternoon and evening walks in Descanso Bay Regional Park, Cox Community Park, and 707 Community Park during July and August. Throughout the summer, GaLTT volunteers greeted members and visitors at Saturday morning Farmers' Markets, dispensing information about GALTT's work, renewing memberships, and selling trail maps and guided walk brochures.
Oceans Day Sunday, June 7 at Descanso Bay Park
Our display table was busy at the Oceans Day event as we sold trail maps, chatted with old members, and signed up new ones. The theme this year was Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet, and Streamkeepers' Nick Doe was also there with his microscope investigating plastic microbeads or whatever else might lurk in household products and end up in the ocean...
Trans Gabriola Trek from Silva Bay to Surf Pub May 24
About 40 people and half a dozen well-behaved leashed dogs started off from Silva Bay. Some left and others joined us while we picnicked near Tait Road, then we were off again through 707 Community Park to Tin Can Alley where a few more joined us to walk the trails and roads to Phase 4 and down to the welcoming staff (and beer) at Surf Pub. Gertie carried us back to Silva Bay in comfort after our great 19km walk.
Forest bathing for mental health May 8
In search of tranquility, 18 of us went forest bathing in Elder Cedar Nature Reserve's beautiful forest for an hour or so on May 8, and learned lots about the forest as we walked quietly. Research about the practice shows that time spent in nature lowers stress levels, with resulting mental and physical health benefits.
Drumbeg broom pull May 3
Randy reported "The Drumbeg broom bash on May 3 went well, but we only got about a third of the blossoms cut down, with all of our seven loppers in use. David stayed later to work on some sporadic smaller stems closer to the water."
Commons Spring Fair May 2
Lots of people visited our table in the brisk breeze at the Commons' Spring Fair, to say hello, take out GaLTT memberships, and buy our new walk brochures for Cox Park and Haven Woods.
Earth Day walk and picnic April 22
A guided walk on Cox Park's newest trail near the upper reaches of Mallett Creek, followed by a social picnic in Descanso Bay Regional Park were a lovely way to celebrate Earth Day on Gabriola. Especially Rebecca's yummy earthday cake.
New art trail at WI Hall March 17
GaLTT and Gabriola Arts Council (GAC) signed a trail licence agreement on March 17 to make a public trail between North and South Roads near WI Hall. Soon the trail will have art installations along the way. On March 22 volunteers cleared the trail and pulled invasive broom in preparation for the art.
Spring broom bash in Drumbeg March 8
On March 8 GaLTT and the Lions Club cleared out lots of small broom from Drumbeg Park, working before the spring gold and camas start to bloom in the meadow.
Clearing a new trail near Community Hall February 22
Randy's crew clipped and sawed to break a great new trail that runs from Garland Drive near the Commmunity Hall through to Lois Lane at the end of Stokes Road. It has a loop through a delightful Garry oak meadow too. The trail is great for walkers, bikes, and horses. Thanks to John and Nancy Peirce and their neighbours, Jo Anne Fath and Miguel Johnstone for these new trail licences allowing public access across their land.
AGM February 4
GALTT held its AGM on February 4, 2015 to report on the activities of 2014 and to elect new Board members. VP Norm Harburn awarded Honorary Memberships to:
John Peirce for his significant work during his Presidency developing GaLTT's capacity to hold covenants and issue trail licences on Gabriola, and for helping to facilitate BC's first cross-border covenant with American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts (for Robinson Woods).
Leigh Anne Milman for her important conservation work on Gabriola, helping to preserve Elder Cedar and Coats Marsh.
Anne Drozd for her diligent work over the last four years organizing GaLTT's acounting system and membership records.
GaLTT also acknowledged "super volunteers" Sam Betts, Peter McLaren, and Norm Harburn for their trail work. The Board presented its Strategic Plan for 2015 to 2020, which was developed with the help of our members last year. Before the meeting Dr Kees Groot gave a very amusing and informative talk about the sex lives of salmon.