Powell Forest Canoe Route project to help position trail as world-class outdoor adventure destination
COURTENAY, 28 April 2021 – The Powell River Educational Services Society (PRESS) is preparing to enhance the 57-kilometer Powell Forest Canoe Route through a series of critical upgrades with funding support through the Island Coastal Economic Trust’s (ICET) Economic Innovation and Infrastructure Program (EIIP).
The trail, a popular tourism asset in qathet Region and one of only three wilderness paddle trails in the province, will receive funds to sustainably improve campsites and related trail amenities. Project works will bring the route (which consist of eight lakes, five portages, 23 campsites and forest trails) up to contemporary trail and environmental standards, create employment opportunities, increase the sustainability, support business growth and diversification, as well as attract new visitors and residents to the region.
“Revitalizing the Powell Forest Canoe Route will elevate the nature-based experiences that support the region’s positioning as an international draw for visitors,” says ICET Board Chair Aaron Stone. “These route enhancements will help attract higher value visitors for longer stays, benefitting the entire Powell River area.”
The Powell Forest Canoe Route has experienced a, year-over-year, 8-13% increase in visitors for the past five years and an unprecedented surge of interest by both domestic and international travelers. Adding elements such as wayfinding, storytelling interpretive signage, bear proof containers, tent platforms and covered group shelters (among others) will boost the profile of the route regionally, nationally and internationally.
“This project directly contributes to the Sunshine Coast destination development strategy and will offer product development and experience enhancements that cultivate a unique sense of place,” says PRESS Project Manager Hugh Prichard. “Tourism businesses will also be encouraged to elevate their visitor experience, providing accessible, inclusive, authentic and experiential tourism products that meet visitor demands and extend into the shoulder seasons.”
The Powell Forest Canoe Route Revitalization project highlights activities that will also generate further opportunities for other social, environmental and economic initiatives, including the attraction of a broader target market. Innovation for this project takes the form of intelligent site design that adheres to the best practices in Leave No Trace camping. The inclusion and telling of the human and natural history story to guests through informational kiosks, online and print media will also be incorporated.
This project also offers opportunities for supporting new employment and economic opportunities through the growth of existing businesses and diversification, such as the Powell Lake Outdoor Learning Centre (OLC). The OLC, built in 2008 with ICET support, offers day and multi-day trips on the Canoe Route and the Sunshine Coast Trail, both of which are integral to the Centre’s operation and potential development. As an inclusive service provider, the Centre provides employment opportunities to assist vulnerable, marginalized or at-risk individuals and groups to overcome social and economic barriers.
The project is supported through ICET’s EIIP Destination Trail funding stream. ICET is contributing $102,000 towards the project’s overall $409,000 cost.
The project is expected to get underway shortly.
For more information about the Economic Innovation and Infrastructure Program please see our guidelines and application form: https://www.islandcoastaltrust.ca/economic-infrastructure-program
About the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET)
Created and capitalized by the Province of BC in 2006, the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) mission is to create a more diverse and globally competitive Island and Coastal economy. In partnership with local and regional government, non-profits and indigenous communities, ICET serves nearly half a million residents. Funding and support for economic infrastructure and other economic diversification initiatives is delivered through a unique community centered decision-making process. Since inception, ICET has approved more than $54 million in funding for over 240 initiatives. These investments have leveraged over $270 million in new investment into the region creating more than 2500 construction phase jobs and 2650 long term permanent jobs.
For further information:
Amanda Fortier, Communications Officer
Island Coastal Economic Trust
Tel. 250-871-7797 *232