On June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day, Parks Canada officially opened a portion of the new 25-km multi-use pathway ʔapsčiik t̓ašii (pronounced ups-cheek ta-shee).
ʔapsčiik t̓ašii lies in the traditional territories or ḥaḥuułi of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and YuułuɁiłɁatḥ, and was built in the Long Beach Unit of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The name ʔapsčiik t̓ašii means “going the right way on the path”.
Parks Canada says working with local First Nations and communities in the region has been a priority in building the estimated $51 million multi-use trail.
Elders from both First Nations provided a set of guiding principles to ensure building was completed appropriately: hishukish ts’awalk (everything is one); uu-a-thluk (taking care of); and, iisaak (respect). Together with environmental and archaeological experts, Parks Canada says they used these principles in building the pathway.
“Now, as you begin to venture onto ʔapsčiik t̓ašii, be mindful of these teachings and of the First Nations communities who live near the pathway. Stay on the pathway and respect the privacy of the communities of Esowista and Ty-Histanis,” reads a media release from Parks Canada.
ʔapsčiik t̓ašii remains a construction zone until the official opening of the entire path in spring 2022. A full closure by order of the superintendent is in place between Green Point Campground and Long Beach parking lots due to construction of the final portion of the pathway.
The Parks Canada media release went on to note that only class 1 pedal-assist e-bikes are permitted on completed portions of ʔapsčiik t̓ašii and that throttle e-bikes are not allowed.
The section between Green Point Campground and north of the Long Beach parking lots is under construction. (Parks Canada image)
In Feb. 2021, Tofino celebrated a 2.8-km Multi-Path Use extension at Cox Bay to the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s northern border. The $3.9 million project was paid for with support from the provincial and federal governments, Island Coastal Economic Trust and Resort Municipality Initiative funding.
Ucluelet’s $870,000 grant application to build a path connecting its current Multi-Use Path to the Park Reserve was denied in March, 2021, and that portion of the multi-use path that sits in Alberni Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) lands remains the missing gap to connecting the West Coast. The ACRD plans to pursue a variety of smaller grants to help fund the estimated $1 million portion of remaining trail.
For more details of the Multi-use pathway project visit the ‘Building ʔapsčiik t̓ašii website’.
– With files from Andrew Bailey