(UVic Vikes athlete Bridget Mateyko at Bear Mountain / Athletics Illustrated website)

Bear Mountain has begun planning for their trail network program that will formalize trail network admittance for non-residents and non-customers accessing their property.

Ecoasis Developments will soon be implementing an official Trail Network program for resident access to its non-golf course lands.

The proposal from Bear Mountain also said that residents who wish to enjoy the existing and future wilderness trails will be required to sign a liability waiver, and in the future the option of enhanced safety measures such as GPS tracking will also be available.

The Bear Mountain non-resident trail is meant to ensure priority access for Bear Mountain residents and guests.

A fee for trail use is intended to mitigate the increase in traffic on Bear Mountain hiking and mountain biking trails and the funds produced from that, Bear Mountain said, will be allocated to enhancing and maintaining the trail network.

Part of the move, Bear Mountain said, is the possibility of liability should there be an incident involving golf carts or someone being struck by a golf ball.

In response, Ecoasis is implementing a security program, including security personnel, camera surveillance and enforcement, to prevent unauthorized public use of the golf courses.

Since the announcement, locals have been critical of Bear Mountain’s move to charge money for their trails.

“As the landowners we want to create a positive experience as well as a safe environment for our members, residents and guests. We are experiencing a growing number of hikers and cyclists on our property including on our golf courses and cart paths, which has raised serious safety and liability issues along with increased costs,” said Ecoasis CEO, Dan Matthews.

“This is a land management issue of our private property. In order to achieve the safe enjoyment of our amenities we are planning to implement a well managed, structured trail network program.”

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