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Department Of National Defense Cracking Down On Trail Access On Military Property

Dear Members & Community,

As many know, the area behind Westwood Lake Park is home to an intricate patchwork of landowners: the Department of National Defense, Mosaic (formerly Island Timberlands) and the City of Nanaimo. Currently, the club has one authorized corridor on city property (K2 to Legalize It) and a new climbing trail leading to the Outer Bypass. All other trails in that area are on private land, most of which fall upon the Military Rifle Range property. The rifle range property has never been officially cleared for public access but is heavily used by mountain bikers, dog walkers, trail runners etc. CFB Esquimalt claims the range is active at all times of the day, and that trespassing is extremely dangerous due to training activities.

The blue trails on the map below are the authorized trails the NMBC currently manages in the Westwood area:

On May 2nd, 2019, Trailforks received a formal request from the CFB Esquimalt who manages the Nanaimo Rifle Range, to remove all listed trails from Trailforks that fall within the boundary of the rifle range. Failure to do so would result in legal action against Trailforks, so they were forced to comply.

On May 15th, the following email was sent to the NMBC:


I work for CFB Esquimalt and I’m reaching out to potential users of the mountain bike trails that have been found within the boundaries of the Nanaimo Rifle Range. These trails pose a safety risk and must be removed, but we understand some of the infrastructure on the trails took significant time and resources to build and wanted to provide an opportunity for the structures to be repurposed in another location.

As a courtesy, we have cancelled all range training from May 16-20 to offer users the opportunity to remove and salvage any trail infrastructure they have built within range boundaries before it is demolished. After May 20 the range will be live and range boundaries will be enforced. Any infrastructure built within the boundaries after that time will be dismantled without warning.

I’m try to contact as many potential users as possible, so please feel free to spread the word to anyone you know who might use those trails.

We want to stress that there is no safe time to be on range property. The range is used for live fire training during the day, at night and throughout the weekends. Trespassers risk serious injury if they enter the training area while operations are underway, and could be fined or detained until the training is completed for the day.

If you have any questions, please contact me by email or phone at 250-363-7060.


If you’d like to voice your concerns about accessing these trails, we urge you to get in touch with our federal member of parliament, Paul Manly, to speak with him about this federal issue. For more information, please get in touch with Katelyn at CFB Esquimalt directly via the contact information listed above.