In 2009, City of Williams Lake received a $20,000 grant from Northern Development through the Feasibility Studies program towards this $90,000 project. This has been a funding partnership of City of Williams Lake, Northern Development, and Cariboo Regional District
2012-As the links between traditional tourism and outdoor recreation grow stronger, recreation trails are becoming recognized as increasingly important drivers of economic development and tourism. The development of an integrated parks and trails system which features the world-class Williams Lake trail system was identified as an area which could easily be developed and then marketed resulting in a significant economic impact for Williams Lake and the surrounding region.
The City of Williams Lake undertook a feasiblity study that identified the key areas that needed to be addressed to develop a tourism product that would fulfill the potential of the existing and future trails and park network. The study analyzed a number of aspects including a review of the current trail inventory, determination of future needs, review and integration of existing city and regional plans with regional and provincial strategies, community consultation, determining liquidation and acquisition priorities, identifiying employment and training opportuntiies for First Nations and displaced forestry workers, and identifying marketing strategies.
The study has also determined project costs for the short and long term in the areas of development, marketing, maintenance and expansion, as well as project return on investment, and investment as a result of further trails development projects over time.
Visit the City of Williams Lake’s website to download the Parks, Trails & Outdoor Recreation Master Plan that was informed by this study.
"The completion of this project is an important step in helping Williams Lake grow the economic impact that our trail network brings to our community. Without this project, and the funding provided by Northern Development, we would not have this vital tool that allows us to provide further justification and leverage when we are working to secure resources, and in building critical partnerships."Geoff Paynton, Director of Community Services, City of Williams Lake
The Williams Lake trail system is one of the biggest untapped and unexplored economic opportunities in the region. Research by major tourism bodies showed that the use of trails is quickly becoming a primary travel consideration for a growing segment of tourists, as well as an important factor in the recruitment and retention of individuals to an area and the establishment of new businesses.
The Williams Lake area has the potential to attract a large amount of new tourism activity, business, training, and employment opportunities with the development and marketing of its existing trails, as well as an opportunity to further grow these opportunities through planning for the expansion and integration of these trail and park systems. This feasibility study identified the steps required to achieve the goal of becoming a world class trails destination, as well as identified the challenges and issues that need to be overcome to achieve those goals.