Wild Pacific Trail ambassador Tanya Nestoruk educates visitors about sea wolves during a free guided walk on Saturday morning. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

Ucluelet’s Wild Pacific Trail Society reflects on epic year

Free nature walks, daily at 10a.m.

Wild Pacific Trail founder ‘Oyster’ Jim Martin broke down in tears during an annual general meeting held at the beginning of June.

The local legend and recipient of the Canadian Meritorious Service Medal, shed tears of triumph expressed for all the support he’s received over the past couple years.

“We’re going to do more of this,” said Martin. “And I want some time off,” he added in jest.

Highlights of 2017 include the completion of Inspiration Point and the Bog Interpretive Trail. Martin said it took hauling at least three to four dump trucks full of gravel to complete the squishy woodland bog trail.

The lowlight of the year was the damage caused by a massive storm that ravaged the coast in January 2018. One viewpoint was destroyed, two decks were displaced, and several sections of the trail were washed out and littered with storm debris.

Martin and trail maintenance crew Danielle Francis worked diligently to restore the points on the trail that were wrecked.

“Having the support of Dani has proven to be outstanding,” said Martin.

VIDEO: Storm destroys chunks of Wild Pacific Trail

Forging on into summer 2018 and beyond, Wild Pacific Trail Society president Barbara Schramm shared optimism for the future.

“I really do believe if you focus on what you love, it will happen,” she said at the AGM. “It keeps manifesting year after year. I do think the future is going to be extremely bright. ‘What do we want?’ is a powerful question because I do think we have the power to make it happen.”

The Spring Cove Trail, which is located near the Ucluelet Harbour and adjacent to the WPT’s Lighthouse Loop, is Martin’s freshest trail construction project. The new section will allow hikers the opportunity to learn about the biodiversity of the mudflats via interpretive signs and three bird blinds. It is on track to be completed this summer.

“We are not just about the view,” notes Schramm. “It’s really important to showcase different environments.”

Extending the trail into Onni Group lands—formerly Wyndansea—is on the horizon as well, said Martin.

“It’s going to require me being here for that and I relish the opportunity. Because that’s what I do,” he said.

READ: Massive housing development proposed at bankrupt golf site in Ucluelet

This summer’s program of free interpretative walks experienced a surge of vivaciousness when experienced naturalist Tanya Nestoruk came on board as trail ambassador, Schramm lauded.

“She’s not looking for the information, she is ahead of the information.”

Nestoruk hosts a unique one-hour walk on Wednesdays and Saturdays about sea wolves. On Thursdays, she’ll lead visitors on a 45-minute educational trek around the Bog Trail.

VIDEO: WPT opens new bog interpretive walk

Once again, the Ucluelet Aquarium heads up tidepool exploration at Big Beach on Fridays. Central Westcoast Forest Society and Raincoast Education Society have signed on to lead rainforest walks on Tuesdays.

Guest speakers, like Silva Johansson who leads walks to the site of the Shipwreck of the Pass of Melfort, are jotted in the calendar for mid-summer.

Interpretive walks run daily during the summer from the Whale parking lot at 10a.m. For more information or to download the schedule, visit: www.wildpacifictrail.com/walks.html.

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