As we pedal our bicycles through the rambling, majestic forest of Campbell River’s Beaver Lodge Lands, our minds dwell on the surrounding beauty. The trees stand so tall, like soldiers above the flora and fauna that abound, protecting all the living creatures who choose to live there.
We lose track of our worries and commitments. We are immersed in nature, experiencing a feeling of calm deep within our souls. The movement of our legs pedalling makes our muscles work, our lungs fill with fresh air, and our hearts fill with gratitude. At times we take this natural beauty in our backyard for granted. It’s when we go away and come back that we realize just how lucky we are to live in this place we call home.
Before we know it, our rolling journey takes us beside our wild, blue ocean. The waves moving over the rocks, a tugboat pulling a large load of logs, an eagle on the hunt—these are a few of the things we see as we cycle along the Seawalk. As we ride by, people smile, they politely step aside to let us pass, and some even exclaim, “Great day for a ride!” It really is a great day for a ride.
This is the joy we experience from riding on the Greenways Loop.
It’s interesting, now that this loop is signed with little green, Indigenized frogs that guide you around our city, it has taken on an identity. It is a now a “thing”. ‘See you on the Loop.’ Many a time have we ridden in Beaver Lodge Lands or along the Seawalk. They are both beautiful and make us proud to live in Campbell River but now that these parts have become part of something bigger—a loop—they somehow feel different.
What makes this loop so special? Is it the forest, the people, the ocean breeze, the beautiful paths, or perhaps stopping for coffee along the way? As we consider all that has gone into the creation of this 28 kilometre path, we think the answer is pretty clear.
This loop has had a way of bringing people together. All of us—the dreamers who initiated the idea 28 ago; the organizations that have developed different parts of it over the years; the city councillors and staff who have supported this initiative; the people who ride their bikes and walk on it; and those of us who have taken up the project over the past two years. We can stand back and smile, knowing we played a part in this vision that connects our community.
Our loop has many contributors. Most recently Friends of the Loop, a grassroots group of people with voices from recreation, health, culture, tourism, arts, education, and the environment have taken the loop to the next level. They work in private businesses, not-for-profits, and government organizations and we all love Campbell River. Historical records within the City of Campbell River, combined with anecdotal stories and meeting notes from community organizations such as Greenways Land Trust, Rotary, and the Beaver Lodge Forest Lands all give credit to the fact that projects like this are rarely linear, and often go through many iterations before producing an end.
It is truly heartwarming to see the tangible results of all of those efforts. We now have a signed and mapped Greenways Loop, complete with its own mascot, FROG, which was designed by our dear, late friend, and local Kwakwaka’wakw artist, Curtis Wilson. FROG represents the interconnectedness of the people who call this place home, and the Forests, Rivers, Ocean, and Greenways accessible to those who travel the loop. The name FROG was suggested by our current mayor, Andy Adams.
Going forward, the future brings possible phases of development that include proposals for smart, clean technological enhancements for Loopers—think solar pathways that absorb energy from the sun and then convert into illuminated crossings for safer use, and/or rest stations with water, device-chargers, and geo-checkpoints for peace of mind and communication between younger riders and their guardians.
The Greenways Loop has always been about sharing and fostering a sense of healthy and active community participation. We want to honour all the people who have been part of the loop thus far, by continuing to promote and encourage everyone to get in the loop. Share the stories, look for FROG buttons, follow the signs, and get outside and play. The symbolism of FROG also means that we, as a community, can find more and more ways to connect the loop with the places we love in Campbell River and make the loop even more relevant to our community than it already is.
This Greenways Loop exists as a place to recreate, a place for active transportation, a place to be with nature, a place to connect with friends and family, and a place for exploration and discovery. We are honoured to have played one small part in its creation and we will forever cherish the time we get to spend on it.