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Planning your hike on the West Coast Trail
[Parks Canada beaver logo]
[hikers arrive at a "Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada" sign]
Narrator: The West Coast Trail...
[title: Open from May till the end of September]
Nar: ...is open from May through to September every year.
[title: Do I need a permit to hike the trail?]
[hikers watch seagulls as they camp on a sandy beach]
Nar: Anyone staying overnight on the West Coast Trail requires an overnight use permit.
Barb Brittain: There is a myth out there about the West Coast Trail. The West Coast Trail...
[Barb Brittain, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, speaks about the West Coast Trail]
BB: ...is always full is what you hear over and over again and it’s simply it’s not true.
[hikers travel the trail]
BB: The West Coast Trail has a quota system in place to try to separate out...
[Barb continues speaking]
BB: ...or move hikers out beyond just the peak season cause everybody wants to go in July and August...
[hikers camp among logs on a beach; there is a waterfall in a forest in the background]
BB: ...that’s when the weather is most likely to be the best.
[two people set up a tent on a beach under the shade]
BB: ...since that quota’s been put in there’s been allotment for 8,000...
[a group of hikers walk along a foggy beach]
BB: ...people and looking back we’ve averaged over 5,000 hikers annually but have not yet filled the quota.
[the West Coast Trail Information Centre is a red building]
Nar: Parks Canada will issue up to 60 overnight use permits a day.
[backpacks rest on a porch as hikers register for the trail]
Nar: Thirty hikers can start from each end of the trail.
[day hikers talk with Park staff at the information centre]
Nar: Day hikers, those that access and exit the trail from the same location on the same day, are issued a day-use permit and are not part of the quota system.
[a sign says the information centre is open daily from 9:00 - 17:00
Nar: All permits are issued at the West Coast Trail Information Centres at the trail heads.
[title: Should I make a reservation?]
[a woman uses her computer to make an online reservation]
BB: There’s a couple of ways to get on the trail. You can make a reservation and be guaranteed that you’re going to get on in the peak season or you can go...
[Barb speaks about reservations]
BB: ...by standby and come out and wait and see when you can get on. In this last year, or so...
[hikers trek along a wooden boardwalk through the forest]
BB: ...we’ve now been able to get people on usually within the first day, maybe a two day wait but not much beyond that.
[a woman consults her calendar]
Nar: You can make a reservation for the...
[title: Peak Season - June 15th till Sept 15th]
Nar: ...peak season up to three months in advance of your hike start date and up to two days before.
[hikers come to the information centre]
Nar: If you want to obtain a permit by standby, go to one of the two West Coast Trail Information Centres as soon as you arrive in the area and...
[inside, the hikers speak with a Park staff]
Nar: ...put your name on the standby list. A minimum of 10 permits are allocated...
[the Park staff hands the hikers the Overnight Use Permits to fill out]
Nar: ...to hikers on the standby list each day. Sometimes...
[hikers fill out the permit]
Nar: ...more will be issued if not all the reservations have been filled for the day.
[title: Do I have to pay a fee?]
[hands count money for payment]
BB: The fees on the West Coast Trail were brought in to help us pay for...
[Barb explains the rationale behind the fees]
BB: ...some of the services that are provided on the West Coast Trail.
[three people consult a map]
BB: It’s a very expensive trail to run because...
[two people balance high on a tiny wooden suspension bridge]
BB: ...everything is in a remote area. So...
[workers carry in a wooden two-by-four]
BB: ...structures being flown in that means that...
[they push the plank into position on the suspension bridge]
BB: ...the timber that’s used on the board walks has to be flown in.
[a worker adjusts the bridge cables]
BB: The bridges that are created have to be engineered...
[a pilot flies an aircraft over the west coast of Vancouver Island]
BB: ...and the trail crew has to use helicopters to get in and out and to get their supplies in...
[Barb explains some of the trail's expenses]
BB: ...and out. We have a very significant rescue component...
[two people hang from a cable over a rocky shore]
BB: ...on the trail. We do the rescues anywhere from...
[a rescue squad carries someone on a stretcher]
BB: ...about 80 to 100 in a year.
[a man pilots a powerboat through coastal waters]
BB: And much of that’s done by Zodiac but some of it’s...
[a helicopter approaches overhead]
BB: ...also done by helicopter depending on the severity of it...
[a whiteboard contains information on beach closures]
BB: ...and a lot of information services get provided as well for hikers.
[a male hiker reads safety information regarding bears, cougars and wolves]
BB: So there is a lot of cost involved in operating the West Coast...
[a Park staff teaches hikers about Tsunami Signs with a PowerPoint presentation]
BB: ...Trail and the fees go towards helping that cost, it doesn’t come anywhere near to paying for the cost.
[a hand moves a mouse around]
Nar: For more information on the...
[on screen, the mouse clicks on "Fees" on the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve webpage]
Nar: ...current fees, check the Parks Canada website.
[a woman looks at a computer screen]
Nar: Our website is also a great resource to learn...
[hiking backpacks rest on the information center porch]
Nar: ...more about the West Coast Trail. Thank you for watching...
[hikers examine a map at the information center's front desk]
Nar: ...this series of web videos. We hope that you have a...
[as more hikers enter the center, one gives the 'thumbs up']
Nar: ...better idea of what the West Coast Trail can offer you.
[a woman stands with her partner, talking about the West Coast Trail]
Woman Hiker A: Feel like you’ve accomplished something when you have done this, absolutely.
[a young man talks about his experiences on the trail]
Male Hiker B: No, it far, far exceeded it, anything I can picture.
[one young woman sits beside two friends and talks about their experiences]
Woman Hiker C: You know we were like how quickly does the tide come in while we’re standing and how much further do we have to go and I can tell that we’re all a little nervous and then we get past it and we’re all like high five we’re like we did it, we rock.
[a man calls out as hikers board a small boat, preparing to hike the West Coast Trail]
Male Hiker D: Hey guys, we’re moving away from the...
[hikers laugh and cheer with the man on board the boat]
Male Hiker D: ...shore. There’s no turning back. Let’s go! What do you fear? Yeah!
[the boat arrives and the hikers begin their journey]
[title: You're watching a series of videos on...]
[title: ...The West Coast Trail]
[title: Parks Canada/Parks Canada government logo]
[title: Copyright - Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by Parks Canada, 2010]
[title: Government of Canada logo]
Do you need a permit? Should you make a reservation? Do you have to pay a fee? Find out everything you need to know to plan your hike on the West Coast Trail in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
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