Good Roads 2.0: An Analysis of the Impacts of Rail-Trail Organizations on Strategic Planning, Community-Building and Economic Revitalization




Mihell, Natasha

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Friends of Rails to Trails Vancouver Island (“FORT-VI”) seeks to develop a 224km rail-trail corridor from Victoria, British Columbia (“BC”) to Courtenay, BC, with an additional spur from Parksville to Port Alberni. To advance and manage this goal, FORT-VI asked for a comparative analysis of five different rail-trail initiatives that outlines the potential and likely impact, challenges or barriers that stand in the way of developing a rail-trail corridor, and smart practices or successes of similar projects around the world. Influenced by Bryson’s (2018) strategic change cycle, this paper identifies potential outcomes of rail-trails initiatives across multiple policy areas that include: health, recreation and ecological economics; and land use, reconciliation and governance. The analysis demonstrates that, while FORT-VI’s initiative may be suspended indefinitely due to external influences, there is much information to be gleaned about the value of rail-trails across all policy areas, which can assist FORT-VI in its continued advocacy for a rail-trail on Vancouver Island. Not only can this information support the development of rail-trails like FORT-VI’s Island Rail Corridor, but it can also benefit other areas that are looking to develop rail-trails. Lastly, it can assist various associated actors, such as First Nations in the Vancouver Island area, who may be interested in supporting a rails-trails initiative or learning more about such initiatives in general.



rails to trails, ecological economics, Friends of Rails to Trails Vancouver Island, strategic planning, Good Roads, environmental movements