Current ORC Initiatives: Highlights

BC Rivers Day
The largest river celebration in Canada is coordinated annually by ORC on the fourth Sunday in September. In 2005, the United Nations launched the "Water for Life" decade and river enthusiasts from around the globe came together to celebrate the first World Rivers Day. Millions of people celebrated Rivers Day in dozens of countries each year with hundreds of thousands of people celebrating the event in BC. Please visit our registration site to list your event. If you wish to see a list of events in your area, visit our event list and select your region.

BC's Endangered Rivers List
The Endangered Rivers list increases awareness about the various threats that confront our waterways, while helping to profile important river issues. The survey collects information about environmental impacts and threats, such as pollution and habitat destruction, as well as loss of outdoor recreation activities due to poor river health. Public recreation may include fishing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, birdwatching, and walking by the river. ORC publishes the Endangered Rivers List every two years based on the results of the public survey.

ORC Access Committee
The ORC Access Committee has held monthly conference calls since October 2016 and is exploring ways to improve access to privately owned lands in the Province for public recreation. The Committee used as its starting point the study which was conducted for ORC by the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Victoria with the title Enhancing Public Access to Privately Owned Wild Lands.

The Committee has mostly considered access to the private forest lands on Vancouver Island but it has under consideration traditional access corridors to and through Douglas Lake Ranch as well as public fishing lakes within private property and crown leased land in the Nicola Valley area. The Committee has conducted meetings with the Private Forest Landowner's Association and it is researching potential agreements entered into by outdoor recreation clubs with such forest companies as Island Timberlands, Timberwest and Hancock Forest Management on the Island.

Share the Trails Workshop
The Share the Trails workshop is hosted annually by ORC in partnership with Horse Council BC. This forum aims to build partnerships between outdoor recreation groups, government and First Nations, to bring together diverse users of trails, and to explore options for more effective use of trails.

In May 2017, ORC hosted an STT workshop in Penticton with a focus on rail trails in Southern BC. A workshop report was produced, which can be accessed by clicking here. ORC also filmed three video interviews on the topic of strategies for sharing trail systems: Chris Moslin, President of Grand Forks Community Trails Society (click for video); Mike Nelson, former Executive Director of Squamish Off Road Cycling Association (click for video); Randy Ellenchuck, President of Tabor Mountain Recreation Society (click for video).

Rail Trails Steering Committee
As a result of the Share the Trails Workshop which was organized by Horse Council BC and ORC in May 2017 to consider the sharing of the rail trails in Southern BC, a Steering Committee has been formed with a good cross section of representation from various user groups and local government agencies. This committee will endeavour to establish a Recreation Advisory Group, based on the Chilliwack model, in a suitable section of the railway to see if alternative routes can be found for motorized traffic so as to free up that section of the rail bed for non-motorized use. A working group has now been formed to expedite the work of the Steering Committee.

Outdoor Recreation Special Collections Library
ORC houses a collection of outdoor recreation publications. Researchers and the public can access historical documents, management plans, papers, and maps, including many resources that are otherwise unavailable. A future goal is to convert the library to digital format, on completion of which it will be made available on the ORC website and it will be possible to search the contents by subject, title, or author.

Notable past initiatives
Economic Gain Analysis of Recreation Activity: this major study aimed to make a significant contribution to understanding the importance of recreation to local economies, and its contribution to sustainable communities.

Forest Service Recreation Sites and Trails - Back from the Brink: ORC worked closely with Ministry of Forest officials, generating workable policy solutions to protect and manage this valuable network of recreation resources.