?Esdilagh First Nation is being awarded nearly $215,000 under the Special Circumstance provision of the BC Rural Dividend to develop and maintain a trail network.
“We’re aware that some rural communities are facing difficulties in the aftermath of severe wildfires,” Doug Donaldson, B.C.’s Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, said in a press release. “We have been working to prioritize certain project applications to help Indigenous and rural communities ensure they remain healthy and economically viable places to live and raise families.”
?Esdilagh First Nation received the grant for a project that will create a strategy to develop and maintain a 30-kilometre network of nature trails, as well as design and build a 10-kilometre demonstration trail in the community. Members will be trained to build and maintain the trail. Additional project activities will include installing kiosks and signs for the trail, and recreation programs and events for ?Esdilagh youth skill development.
“We are looking forward to the trail project this year. Providing opportunities close to home, recreational or economic, greatly contributes to the quality of life in the community,” said ?Esdilagh Chief Victor Roy Stump. “We need this focus after the 2017 wildfires and the residual ongoing impacts they have had on our people.”
The Rural Dividend is one aspect of the provincial government’s rural development mandate, which commits to supporting rural communities to reinvigorate and diversify their local economies.