Jan and Hugh Naylor gift recreational use right of way through their land to ensure public trail and river access in perpetuity
Pemberton, BC – It’s safe to say that Pemberton Valley’s trail infrastructure would not be what it is today without Jan and Hugh Naylor. Their contributions were furthered at the SLRD Board meeting on Wednesday November 23, with the signing of a Right of Way agreement that will preserve non-motorized recreational access along the trailside edge and riverfront of their property.
The Right of Way permits non-motorized public access for recreational use along a portion of riverfront land in front of the Naylors’ home, as well as the trail that has become known as Naylor Way, a short gravel pathway that runs parallel to the railway line and accesses the Lillooet River off Urdal Road.
The 46-year residents of Pemberton are loath to be singled out in any way for the initiative, noting it would not have been possible without the amazing dedication of countless volunteers from across the community. The Naylors attribute their involvement to an enduring passion for recreation and rivers—a passion shared with many peers and fellow volunteers.
“It’s partly a public service, but it’s not all altruistic,” says Hugh Naylor. “We really enjoy the feedback we get from trail users, and the better the trail has become, the better stewardship it’s inspired from users.”
The Naylors joke that the first users of Naylor Way were geese traipsing through the farm in 1976 when the pair started a U-pick strawberry operation. But it was in 2000, when they ceased farming, and the Pemberton Valley Trail Association was founded, that they planted a row of saplings along the edge of their property to delineate a trail as an access for residents to the river and Pemberton’s burgeoning trail network.
The trail has become increasingly well used, and in 2014, the SLRD funded the gravel improvements. In June 2016, the SLRD funded the split-rail fence that was installed by a crew of volunteers. The Naylors note that as many as 200 people a day—walkers, cyclists, and horseback riders—have used the path to access the river and trail network in the summer months.
“People underestimate the draw of a river,” says Jan Naylor. “Young or old, trails connect people with nature and with each other. Trails are so important to this community—it’s what makes a community pleasurable.”
Signing this agreement is a demonstration of their longstanding commitment to trails in the Pemberton Valley. Between them, the couple served 16 years on the Board of Directors of the Pemberton Valley Trails Association, helped developed the Pemberton and Area C Trails Master Plan, and helped build a groundswell of support for trails that prompted the creation of a service area that funds trail development in Pemberton and Area C.
The Right of Way agreement also preserves their equity in their property ensuring liability protection and management obligations are clearly outlined and absorbed by the SLRD. The agreement now serves as a useful template for others.
“The Right of Way agreement is one of the first in the Pemberton Valley, and the SLRD hopes it will serve as a practical precedent to assist in the evolution of Pemberton’s valley trail network,” says SLRD Chair Jack Crompton. “The trail network is an important recreation amenity that contributes greatly to the community’s appeal for residents and visitors alike, much like Whistler’s Valley trail.”
The Naylors signed the agreement at the SLRD Board meeting in Pemberton on Wednesday, November 23.
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