ʔapsčiik t̓ašii Multi-use pathway - Executive summary
In 2016, the Government of Canada provided Parks Canada with $17.7 million to build a new multi-use pathway to traverse the Long Beach Unit of in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve – a long-time request of local communities. ʔapsčiik t̓ašii (pronounced ups-cheek ta-shee), approximately 25 km in length, will provide visitors and locals alike, of all ages and abilities, with an accessible pathway to explore the vast sandy beaches, coastal rainforest, and special areas of natural and cultural significance in the region.
ʔapsčiik t̓ašii is located in the traditional territories of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ, and Parks Canada is consulting and working in partnership with both First Nations as the pathway is built. Parks Canada is honoured to have Elders from both Nations give the new multi-use pathway its name – ʔapsčiik t̓ašii, which translates to “going in the right direction on the path.”
Work began with extensive environmental, archaeological and geo-technical studies, the preparation of a Detailed Impact Analysis (DIA or otherwise known as an environmental assessment), pathway design and planning. Open houses were held in November 2016 to consult the public on the DIA, and the tree clearing began a few months later. As work on ʔapsčiik t̓ašii progresses, Parks Canada is constantly reviewing and refining our knowledge of the areas along the pathway route, and making the best decisions to mitigate the impacts of building. Following the detailed environmental and archaeological studies, and as a result of continued consultations with environmental experts and local First Nations communities, a detailed pathway design was completed to minimize potential environmental impacts, including potential impacts to species-at-risk and amphibians. The DIA is being updated with an amendment to reflect the latest information, so this document can continue to be a valuable tool as ʔapsčiik t̓ašii is built.
During the tree clearing, additional changes to the pathway alignment were undertaken to avoid sensitive environmental and cultural areas, and work was scheduled around the migratory bird nesting period. Second information sessions were held in June 2017.
An additional investment of $16.3 million in 2017 supported the necessary environmental mitigations required to build ʔapsčiik t̓ašii in the unique ecosystem of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
With the clearing nearing completion in early 2018, the design team took time to finalize the environmental and structural details. The felled trees and shrubs were removed. The Cedar trees were set aside to build wooden elements on ʔapsčiik t̓ašii, with the remainder of the removed trees provided to the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ for use in their communities.
In November 2018, the Government of Canada provided additional investment of approximately $17 million to implement important design alterations and pathway realignment, bringing the total estimated cost for building ʔapsčiik t̓ašii to $51.1 million.
At this time, a construction contract, as well as an environmental monitoring contract, for the next phase of the ʔapsčiik t̓ašii project is advertised for bidding and will be awarded in spring 2019. Construction is expected to be underway during the summer months, with a focus on trailbed construction. The trailbed construction tender is posted publically on the Government Buy and Sell website: buyandsell.gc.ca. It includes an Indigenous Benefits Plan, which requires the contractor to work directly with the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ to provide, training, direct employment, and subcontracting opportunities.