Mount Geoffrey Nature Park and Crown Land Trails Master Plan Update
In 2017, the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) board of directors approved the Mount Geoffrey Regional Nature Park and Crown Land Trails Management Plan following extensive community and stakeholder consultations. This management plan updates the 1998 master plan for Mount Geoffrey Nature Park.
The updated plan establishes a strong vision for the park as well as specific management goals that will guide future park improvements and environmental stewardship priorities as well as the day-to-day operations of the park. The plan will ultimately inform and guide management planning for the park for the next ten to fifteen years and will help protect Mount Geoffrey’s environmental, recreational, economic and cultural values.
The CVRD would like to acknowledge and thank everyone who contributed to the development of this plan and engaged in the consultation process.
The following document provides a table summary of the strategic objectives developed during the planning process and directs readers to the relevant sections of the regional and provincial park plans.
BC Parks: Mount Geoffrey Escarpment Park
BC Parks is also completing a management plan for the adjacent Mount Geoffrey Escarpment Park. The provincial plan is in its final stage of BC Parks and First Nations review.
Veiw Mount Geoffrey park plan background information.
A park plan is a document that outlines the vision and management directions for a park.
A park plan:
- Situates the park within the surrounding environment identifying adjacent residential areas, village and town sites, other protected areas and trail corridors/greenways.
- Describes the park’s history, recreation and cultural uses, natural ecosystems and environmentally sensitive areas.
- Establishes the long-term vision and management objectives for the park.
- Establishes management zones in the park such as environmentally sensitive areas which are to be managed largely for conservation, low intensity recreation areas with trail systems and high intensity recreation areas which may include parking lots, picnic areas and other public amenities.
- Identifies management directions for the park, for example, additional trails, picnic areas or parking areas to be developed, sensitive ecosystems to be protected or restored, control of invasive plant species, reduction of fire risk, etc.
Updates to Mount Geoffrey Regional Park Plan and the new management plan for Mount Geoffrey Escarpment Provincial Park will be guided by public input. For example, public input will help BC Parks and CVRD establish appropriate zoning for the parks and help identify desired park improvements, such as parking areas, trail signage, outhouses, picnic areas, trail improvements, and interpretive signage, etc.
The CVRD is also exploring strengthening its partnership with the Province for management of the Crown lands. A more formal partnership agreement would allow the CVRD to manage the Crown land trails more like a park. The CVRD would like to hear whether this is supported by Hornby islanders.
Both Mount Geoffrey Regional Nature Park and Mount Geoffrey Escarpment Provincial Park were created to protect natural, cultural and recreation values. Mount Geoffrey Regional Nature Park is part of a system of regional district parks that is governed by a set of bylaws that regulate what can and cannot happen in a regional district park. Mount Geoffrey Escarpment Provincial Park is a provincial class ‘A’ park and governed by the provincial Park Act that outlines what is permitted in a class ‘A’ park.
Park uses that are incompatible with regional district park bylaws and the provincial Park Act cannot be considered during the park planning process for Mount Geoffrey.
The CVRD has a permit for the management of trails through the Crown lands from Recreation Sites and Trails BC, a branch of the provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. Planning for the Crown lands will primarily deal with the trail system, access and signage. However, the CVRD could enter into a more formal partnership agreement with the Ministry in the future to be able to implement suggestions made by the public during the planning process.
BC Parks and the CVRD held informal public consultations during summer 2014. A formal public open house will be held on June 13, 2015. Following the open houses, public comments will be reviewed and incorporated into final draft park plans. The draft plans will be posted on the two agencies’ websites for a last round of public comment.
The final park plan for Mount Geoffrey Regional Nature Park has to be adopted by the regional board at one of their formal meetings. The final management plan for Mount Geoffrey Escarpment Provincial Park has to be adopted by the provincial government. The goal is to have the park plans formally adopted in 2016.
The current planning process builds on the information gathered in 2007. At the same time, it is recognized that since that time, park use may have changed and while some of the same issues still need to be addressed, there are also new challenges and new opportunities. The 2014 park planning process provides an opportunity to review the work done in 2007 and provide more opportunities for public comment to assist in finalizing the two park plans.
The CVRD and BC Parks have invited Hornby Island community and user groups with a specific interest in the parks and Crown lands to be part of a park planning committee for Mount Geoffrey. The committee is meeting a number of times throughout the duration of the project, helps identify issues, assists with research, provides advice and assists with community outreach activities.
The Mount Geoffrey Parks Planning Committee includes representatives from the Hornby Island Conservancy, the Hornby Island Mountain Biking Association, the Parks Committee of the Hornby Island Residents and Ratepayers Association, the Hornby Island Provincial Parks Committee, the Islands Trust, Recreation Sites and Trails BC, BC Parks and CVRD Parks.
BC Parks and CVRD Parks have different authorities, revenue sources, and operational policies to manage their respective park systems.
The provincial parks system is governed by the provincial Park Act. Funding for Mount Geoffrey Escarpment Provincial Park and other provincial parks comes from provincial revenue sources. For more information, visit http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/
CVRD Parks receives its authority to acquire, plan for and manage parks through the Denman and Hornby Islands Community Parks and Greenways Service established through a bylaw adopted by the Comox Valley Regional Board. The service is funded through a contribution from Denman and Hornby Island property taxes.