This short road was put in in the late 90′s to serve three large acreages created after some of the fabled ‘Weldwood’ lands were sold and developed. Since some known petroglyphs were not far away, it was expected that some would be found on this land. When the logging took place, large areas of smooth sandstone -an ideal canvas for stone carvings -were exposed. Experts from the University of Victoria came up to search the land for any signs of the ancient graffiti. They found nothing and approved the subdivision.
The real trail is a narrow dedicated right-of-way that runs from the new road, between the acreages, to the site of some of the island’s most accessible petroglyphs, on the land adjacent to the United Church on South Road. Although the strip of land was dedicated by the developer, hands-on members of the local trails organization (GALTT) maintain the trail through it. By connecting to South Road, the trail is an important link in a series of trails that allow hikers and cyclists to get up and down the island and stay off the beaten track.
If you want to get a sense of how long it takes Gabriola to regenerate, take a walk down this trail. The land it passes through was cleared of all marketable timber in late 1996. All that remained standing were a scant few fir trees, some arbutus, and a smattering of alder and maple. Fourteen years later, much of it is looking pretty lush. One of the acreages is being turned into a ‘Small Species Sanctuary’ by its owner, who rescued it from being totally overgrown by the invasive broom – which he spent months pulling out by hand. With some simple techniques – primarily seeding the open land with some grains/grasses, the land is attracting lots of wildlife up and down the food chain, and becoming a gorgeous patch of gulf island ecosystem. It is different than the old forest, but no less beautiful.