British Columbia

Proposed kayak trail between B.C.'s Discovery Islands doesn't float with Quadra Island official

The idea of a marine trail connecting B.C.'s Discovery Islands and Campbell River is meeting local some local resistance.

The marine trail would create campsites and launches for paddlers on the West Coast islands

The proposed marine trail would set up a network for kayakers and other small vessels to travel between Powell River B.C., Campbell River, Sayward and the Discovery Islands. (500 Days In the Wild)

A recent proposal by a group of kayaking enthusiasts to set up a marine trail throughout B.C.'s Discovery Islands has been met with skepticism from local leaders

The B.C. Marine Trails Network Association hopes to create a path for kayakers and other small vessels by connecting a chain of campsites and launch areas between Powell River, Campbell River, Sayward and the Discovery Islands — located between Campbell River on Vancouver Island and the B.C. mainland.

John Kimantas, the association's Discovery Islands project manager, spent the last week presenting the trail idea to the affected towns.

But a representative of Quadra Island — an island off the eastern coast of Vancouver Island and part of the Strathcona Regional District — isn't convinced the marine trail is a good idea for his community.

Tourism 'overload'

"We don't have the infrastructure," said Jim Abram, the director of Electoral Area C for Quadra.

"We are full because right now we're experiencing total overload for tourism."

Abram said the island is experiencing a massive influx of visitors, which is a positive development, but it's also caused traffic congestion, crowded ferries and a lack of local amenities.

"Now that's a good thing in some ways but in others it's not so great," said Abram.

"Locals use the local beaches, the campsites, the launching sites and they're having a hard time even being able to use them."

Besides the lack of infrastructure, Abrams said another concern is that the marine trail promotes tourism to remote areas of the island.

He said this won't necessarily boost the island's economy because many marine trail travellers will be spending time at campsites, rather than in a local shop or restaurant.

Also, Abram said his local government is in the middle of a $70,000 study looking into the sustainability of growing tourism on Quadra and other Discovery Islands.

While Abram commends the marine trail association's intentions, he doesn't think this is the right time to implement the plan.

With files from All Points West

Read more from CBC British Columbia