Letter: Response to June 28 Erik Johnson letter

Tuesday, July 5 2016

I am not sure what Mr Johnson means by “a GaLTT sanctioned trail system”. The trails maintained by Gabriola Land and Trails Trust volunteers, and shown on the GaLTT trail maps, are on publicly accessible lands or parks administered by BC Parks and the Regional District of Nanaimo, as well as federal and provincial Crown agencies. Alternatively, they cross private land, and with permission of the owner are licensed and insured by GaLTT for public access, with appropriate signage to indicate this (sadly, these signs are very frequently vandalized by trail users). Many other trails on the island that are used regularly by the public are in fact on private land. Users (on foot or horseback) are trespassing when on those trails, which is why they are not maintained or mapped by GaLTT. 

Access to many of Gabriola’s historic neighbourhood trails has been lost as private land has been sold, logged, subdivided and developed. Private landowners have the right to restrict access, and securing legitimate public access is critical. GaLTT’s mandate includes the acquisition and preservation of land and trails for public use. Density transfers (as used to establish 707-acre Park) are the primary way for communities to acquire new parkland—there is very little taxpayer money available for parkland purchase.

GaLTT is a non-profit organization with about 200 members and a couple of hundred volunteers. We have a public website www.galtt.ca which contains a full list of our Board members including brief biographies, Board meeting minutes, our Constitution, and event announcements, as well as useful information about the island’s ecology and parks, and the history of the Society. The Board tries very hard to keep its membership informed of its decision-making, seeking input on important decisions, and involving members in long-range planning. Members may attend the regular monthly Board meetings, and they vote to elect the Board at AGMs. All Gabriolans are eligible to join if they wish. 

GaLTT Board welcomes all input and queries from our members, as well as other Gabriolans. We can be reached at info@galtt.ca

~ Jenni Gehlbach, GaLTT Board Secretary

PO Box 56

Gabriola, V0R 1X0.