Alberni Valley residents celebrated the opening of a new trail system in the Sproat Lake area last week.
While the Sproat Lake area already has an established trail network along Lakeshore Road, a new extension was completed earlier this year along the east end of Lakeshore and along Faber Road. The trailhead is accessible at Sproat Lake Landing, at the intersection of Lakeshore Road and Kimola Road.
The project was funded by a $140,000 grant that covered 100 percent of eligible project costs. Eighty percent came from the federal government, while 20 percent came from the province.
“Sproat Lake has a number of trails in our area, and it’s wonderful to have this access for our residents because it’s a safe way to get around our community,” said Penny Cote, ACRD director for Sproat Lake, during a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, Nov. 8. “It gives healthy options for people to move around and that’s so important with so many seniors in our community. And the youth that come here in the summer, they don’t have to be out on that road.”
Chris Law, the manager of the Alberni Valley Community Forest, noted that this extension also adds a link to the Community Forest trail network.
“There is a network now that takes us from Sproat Lake Provincial Park via trails all the way to Taylor Arm Provincial Park,” he said. “During the pandemic, it was such an asset for the community. The use of these trail systems grew exponentially throughout the pandemic.”
Gord Johns, MP for Courtenay-Alberni, thanked the Sproat Lake Parks Commission and ACRD staff for their work in developing the trail and applying for funding.
“When we build trail networks, it gets people more active, it lowers our healthcare costs and it’s better for our environment,” he said. “And it’s great for the economy, because we want people to come visit the Alberni Valley and the more things they can do, the better.”
Joe Lamoureux, chair of the Sproat Lake Parks Commission, said the trail is also a safety measure, because it offers a safer way for visitors to get from Sproat Lake Provincial Park to Sproat Lake Landing without crossing busy streets and highways.
Michael McGregor, the lands and resources coordinator for the ACRD, said the ACRD wants to continue building these types of trails.
“We’re providing public spaces for people to get out and experience nature, instead of from the seat of their car,” he said. “As long as we keep getting support we’ll continue to build more trails.”