The restoration was a cornerstone project linking communities of the Cowichan Valley to the Trans Canada Trail, generating shared benefits from visitors to the region.
The Cowichan Valley Trail Initiative builds on the vision of a Trans Canada Trail — a coast to coast trail tailored on the European model of trails where recreational hikers, walkers and cyclists are connected to nearby accommodation, restaurants, wineries, historic sites, and other places of interest. Completing the Cowichan Valley Trail corridor makes it part of the larger 200 kilometre Trans Canada Trail route on South-Central Vancouver Island between Mile 0 in Victoria and Departure Bay in Nanaimo. The trail links many communities across the Cowichan Valley Regional District and connects to the Regional District of Nanaimo Trans Canada Trail system in the North and the Galloping Goose Trail system in the Capital Regional District to the South.
Eight trail components were completed by the Cowichan Valley Trail Initiative providing links from: Ladysmith to the Regional District of Nanaimo; Chemainus to Ladysmith Rail with Trail; Duncan to Chemainus/Crofton Waterline Trail; Lake Cowichan/North Cowichan Rail to Trail; and the restoration of the historic Kinsol Trestle, re-establishing the rail trail crossing of the Koksilah River.
Completed in March 2015, one of the most impressive accomplishments of this project is the rehabilitated Kinsol Trestle, completed in 2011. As one of the tallest free standing timber rail trestle structures in the world, the Kinsol Trestle has become a significant tourism attraction and an iconic image of the Trans Canada Trail in the Cowichan Valley. By developing the Cowichan Valley Trail as a featured tourism destination, many communities have shared the opportunities and economic benefits of increased visitation to the region.
Each year over 114,000 tourists visit the Cowichan Valley seeking a variety of experiences, including agri-tourism, First Nations culture, heritage sites, outdoor adventure, as well as the natural environment. The trail winds its way through some of the finest natural beauty on Vancouver Island and complements other stimulating features and attractions, such as renowned wineries, vibrant artisan communities, culinary businesses, an expansive B&B network and a variety of recreation-tourism industries providing a year-round destination for visitors.