Common menu bar links

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Frequently Asked Questions

About the Trail

  1. Why is Parks Canada building this trail?
  2. What will the new trail offer visitors and locals?
  3. The region and park reserve are already busy in the summer. Does the area need another attraction?
  4. Will the new trail connect to the paths in Tofino and Ucluelet?
  5. Who is involved in the project?
  6. When will the trail be open to the public?
  7. Will I have to pay to use the trail?
  8. Will there be an impact on visitors during construction?

Building the Trail

  1. What factors is Parks Canada taking into account to decide on a route?
  2. What studies has Parks Canada conducted?
  3. Where will the trail go? Can members of the public provide input on the route?
  4. Why is the trail being built through the forest? Why not put the trail beside the road like the paths in Tofino and Ucluelet?
  5. How will the new trail address the needs and safety of cyclists?
  6. How much will the trail cost to build?
  7. When will the work begin?
  8. What work is happening right now?
  9. How can I find out what is happening during construction?

Protecting the Environment

  1. How is Parks Canada going to protect habitat, wildlife and species at risk?
  2. How many trees will be removed to build the trail, and are any of the trees being removed old growth?
  3. What will be done to prevent human-wildlife conflicts on the trail?
  4. What is being done to find and protect culturally sensitive areas?

About the Trail

Why is Parks Canada building this trail?
A trail through the park reserve has been a long-time request from the local communities and visitors to the area, and will allow visitors to experience the park in a new, more natural way. This project will also bring short and long-term financial benefits to the region, and as we approach Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, provide a long-term legacy for future generations of Canadians.

What will the new trail offer visitors and locals?
We all know that getting out of the car and travelling by foot or bike enhances people’s experience of nature immeasurably: being able to smell the forest, taste the salty air, see rare species, and hear the roar of the ocean is an experience beyond compare. When visitors learn about and experience Pacific Rim National Park Reserve using the new trail, they will also discover reasons to support the long-term protection of Canada’s flora, fauna, and wild spaces inside and outside Canada’s national park system.

The region and park reserve are already busy in the summer. Does the area need another attraction?
The new multi-use trail will be a year-round attraction, allowing visitors to experience the park in all seasons. It also promotes a more environmentally friendly, healthy and safe way for people to visit and travel through the park reserve.

Will the new trail connect to the paths in Tofino and Ucluelet?
The focus of the new trail is to give visitors and locals a new way to experience Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Parks Canada is happy to share our experiences in building the trail with the municipalities of Tofino and Ucluelet if they decide to go ahead and connect their respective trails to the park reserve.

Who is involved in the project?
We are consulting with local Indigenous communities as the trail travels through their traditional territories. Their support and involvement is integral to the success of this project, and their contributions will ensure the trail presents a full cultural experience for all park reserve visitors for many years to come.

We have also been talking with the municipalities of Ucluelet and Tofino as well as the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District, and look forward to sharing this exciting project with the local communities, stakeholders and others in the coming months.

When will the trail be open to the public?
The trail will be open to the public in 2018. Right now we don’t have a set date for project completion, but will know closer to the time.

Will I have to pay to use the trail?
Regular park entry fees apply to all visitors to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. These fees are charged at most national parks and national historic sites, where revenues are kept to support visitor services and facilities. This means that every time you visit a park or site you are investing in its future — and in a legacy for future generations.

Will there be an impact on visitors during construction?
We expect there will be some minor disruptions to visitors and people travelling through the park reserve as the trail is built. Regular updates on any construction that might impact visitors will be posted on Facebook (facebook.com/PacificRimNPR) and Twitter (twitter.com/pacificrimNPR).

Building the trail

What factors is Parks Canada taking into account to decide on a route?
Parks Canada has developed general principles to guide decisions on the final trail route. These include using best known environmental management practices to mitigate the impacts from the creation of the trail; creating a wilderness feel for the trail by maintaining a natural buffer between the trail and the road to minimize visual and audible distractions; taking advantage of new viewscapes, existing viewpoints, campgrounds, and other facilities to provide regular rest areas; and considering ease and accessibility by avoiding steep climbs or descents.

What studies has Parks Canada conducted?
Before beginning the process to plan a route, Parks Canada initiated a number of studies to identify areas of the park reserve that are not suitable for a trail – including identifying important wildlife corridors, critical habitat for species at risk, areas of high cultural sensitivity, and areas that would present a risk to visitor safety, among other things. These studies form part of the Detailed Impact Analysis, the baseline document for the project. Moving forward with this information, a bio-inventory has documented plant communities, aquatic and wildlife habitat, species presence, sensitive ecosystems, and rare species. As well, a cultural resource inventory is being completed by the Tla-o-qui-aht and Yuu-thlu-ilth-aht First Nations.

Where will the trail go? Can members of the public provide input on the route?
Based on the results of the Detailed Impact Analysis, and the advice of experts, local Indigenous people, and Parks Canada staff, it has become clear that, to have the least environmental impact, there is a fairly defined area that will be suitable for the trail. So, while we are looking forward to talking with the local communities and park users throughout the trail building process, we can only propose a very limited trail corridor due to the environmental and cultural conditions we are working with.

Why is the trail being built through the forest? Why not put the trail beside the road like the paths in Tofino and Ucluelet?
The proposal to build the trail 20-40 metres from the road in many places is both a strategy to mitigate the impacts to sensitive ecosystems and avoid areas of high wildlife observance, and an approach to provide users with a safe, immersive and natural experience while using the trail.

How will the new trail address the needs and safety of cyclists?
The safety of cyclists – and of all visitors who will use the new multi-use trail – is a top priority for Parks Canada. We are working with experts during the planning and design stages to ensure, as much as possible, that the trail meets the needs of users and keeps them safe. For example, the trail will be separated from the road by 20 metres or more to create a safety zone between cars and cyclists; will be constructed on the west side of the highway so that users do not need to cross the road to reach most attractions; and, will include planning for pathway alignment through and around parking lots. On the trail itself, bridges will be full width with high railings and space for safe passing, grades will be kept to a minimum to control speed and steepness, high quality asphalt will provide a smoother surface, and signage and trail markings will play an important role in keeping cyclists and hikers safe.

How much will the trail cost to build?
The creation of a multi-use trail in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve was allocated $17.7M in Budget 2016.

In addition to the cost of the physical construction, Parks Canada is required to follow a strict set of environmental, archaeological, and cultural processes and practices when building new trails in national parks. This ensures that the trail is planned, designed and built to have the least possible impact on the sensitive ecosystems, species at risk, and other wildlife in special places like Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. It is also expected that the creation of this trail will bring a long-term financial benefit to the local communities and region by offering a new, year-round experience to visitors.

When will the work begin?
There are four general stages to this project:

  • Assessment (environmental, cultural, geographical), consultations and information sharing, and general route planning
  • Trail design and planning
  • Clearing
  • Construction

Stage one has already begun. This important stage will inform the trail route and corresponding design and construction specifications.

What work is happening right now?
Environmental consultants are working with Parks Canada staff and local subject matter experts to assess and make recommendations on where and how to build a trail that will have the least environmental impact on the ecosystem. Archaeologists and the local First Nations are conducting a similar assessment of the park reserve to identify cultural sites that need to be protected. This research informs all decisions going forward, including the proposed route, design specifications of the trail, construction specifications, and then the actual physical work required to build the trail.

How can I find out what is happening during construction?
We’ll be posting regular updates on Facebook (facebook.com/PacificRimNPR) and Twitter (twitter.com/pacificrimNPR) as we build the trail. This web site will also be update with new information as needed.

Protecting the Environment

How is Parks Canada going to protect habitat, wildlife and species at risk?
We are committed to building this trail with as little impact to the sensitive ecosystems, species at risk and wildlife as possible. We are employing a rigorous set of environmental practices, including:

  • Comprehensive environmental assessments before we begin
  • Using requirements and recommendations from the assessments to inform route design, trail design, and construction
  • Building flexibility into all stages of the project so we can take action if an environmental concern arises
  • Employing recognized mitigations strategies, and
  • Ensuring continuous environmental monitoring during the entire project

How many trees will be removed to build the trail, and are any of the trees being removed old growth?
Large old growth trees and heavily treed areas will be avoided, and the impact on old growth root systems will be monitored during all stages of the construction process. Removal of select trees will be done outside of the migratory bird nesting period.

What will be done to prevent human-wildlife conflicts on the trail?
Parks Canada is committed to protecting the wolves, bears, cougars, deer and other wildlife that live in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, and also to providing visitors with a safe and enjoyable experience. We are consulting with experts, and will implement recommendations such as ensuring the proposed trail route isn’t close to dens or high-use wildlife areas, designing the trail to have clear lines of sight in places where animals might be on the new trail, continuing to implement effective strategies to keep wildlife wild, and educating visitors on safe practices around wildlife.

What is being done to find and protect culturally sensitive areas?
We are working with the local Indigenous communities and archaeologists to identify and ensure the proposed route does not impact artifacts of cultural significance. If an artifact is discovered, we will work with the Indigenous communities to assess best steps moving forward, including possible rerouting of the trail if required.