Recreational Access in Rennell Sound

  • Mon Jun 23rd, 2014 3:00pm
  • News

Submitted by the Ministry of ForestsThe Haida Gwaii Natural Resources District would like to take this opportunity to thank Kagan Bay Properties Ltd. for their patience over the last three years and in supporting the Haida Gwaii Natural Resource District and community, providing the time to try to find a solution to accessing recreational opportunities in Rennell Sound.For those who are not aware, to access the Clapp Basin Recreation Site, over land, one must cross 3.5 kilometres of private land owned by Kagan Bay Properties Ltd. Over the years, access to the Clapp Basin Recreation Site, has been over this piece of private property. Despite it being private land, the public has used the road to access the Clapp Basin Recreation Site. Time has continued to take a toll on the road infrastructure and it has continued to deteriorate, continuing to increase the private landowners concern of both the public liability and increasing environmental liability.In 2011, the owners of Kagan Bay Properties Ltd. made a decision to close the 3.5 kilometres of private road. They posted this intention and found that there were significant concerns from Clapp Basin Recreation Site users regarding camping and boat access to Rennell Sound. The District became involved and through negotiations between the Province and Kagan Bay Properties Ltd, a short term Recreational Right-of-Way Use Agreement was reached to maintain road access to the boat launch and recreational site until a longer term solution could be found for Rennell Sound.It was determined that the solution must maintain the following objectives: maintain the Clapp Basin Recreation Site as a water access recreation site; improve the camping opportunities on lands that do not require travel across private land; and provide boat access to Rennell Sound. Commencing in August, 2012, works began on replacement recreational infrastructure at the Rennell Sound Recreation Site. A new boat launch was completed in February 2014 and recreation site expansion planning is currently underway with works anticipated to start in 2015. This is not to say that things are perfect. We will continue to assess the infrastructure needs and make improvements as both opportunity and money allow. The public has advised that the new boat launch would benefit from some site modifications. We will work with other government agencies and the public to make every effort to keep improving this area of Haida Gwaii.As of June 15, 2014 the Recreational Right of Way Use Agreement between the Province and Kagan Bay Properties Ltd. has come to an end. The maintenance and responsibility for the 3.5 kilometres of private road now reverts back to the owner. Acting responsibly, Kagan Bay Properties Ltd. has proceeded to close the road to use and plans to deactivate and remediate this private road to ensure the protection of the natural environment on this property as well as the safety of those who would use a road that is not being maintained. This approach is no different than any other private landowner on Haida Gwaii. Kagan Bay Properties Ltd. has worked with us to provide the time necessary to find a solution to the access challenges in Rennell Sound. We are committed to achieving the objectives of maintaining boat access to Rennell Sound, improving camping opportunity and to maintain the Clapp Basin Recreation Site as a water access site. With the cooperation of the landowner, we have minimized the disruption of boat access to Rennell Sound and loss of camping facilities while respecting the private nature of this road. We look forward to working with the public to continuously improve the recreational infrastructure in Rennell Sound into the future.