A portion of the Dike Trail, from the Somenos Conservation Area to Tzouhalem Road, will be renamed S’amunu Trail.
North Cowichan’s council made the decision at its meeting on Jan. 20 after receiving a request from the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society.
As well as approving the proposed new name for the section of trail, council directed staff to work with Cowichan Tribes and the society to install new signage on the trail indicating the new name, at an estimated cost of $1,000.
“I think this is a brilliant idea,” Mayor Al Siebring said after council made its decision.
Don Stewart, the municipality’s director of parks and recreation, said the society consulted with, and obtained approval from, Cowichan Tribes to use the new name for the portion of trail.
The background information provided by Cowichan Tribes indicates that at the time of European contact, there were several thousand people living at two Cowichan villages associated with the marsh.
They were S’amunu, located along the northwestern side of the marsh, and Kwa’mutsen, that lined Somenos Creek in the south.
“The present day Quamichan village represents a small portion of the original village, which extended from the Cowichan River to what is now named Somenos Lake,” according to the background information.
“Somenos Creek was a major corridor of travel between the Cowichan River and Somenos Lake and its wetland resources. According to archaeologists, the Somenos Creek corridor was populated by the Cowichan people and several houses lined the creek at the time of European contact, and beyond.”
Stewart said the trail was not given a name during its construction, and is now commonly referred to as the Dike Trail.
He said that formally naming it the S’amanu Trail would recognize its placement among the First Nation’s traditional lands, and honour the role that the Cowichan people had along the Somenos marsh and creek.
“The name was forwarded to adjacent landowners for their input and consideration, all returning with either no comment, or acceptance,” Stewart said.
“The application was not forwarded for public consideration, nor was it sent to any groups or associations.”