Family - Waddell Connection - Jane Waddell - Tribute by Eric Burkle

Tribute by Eric Burkle

Jane joined the Outdoor Club of Victoria in 1962 and became an active hiker. She also did many bike trips with her friend Jane Toms, particularly in the Gulf and San Juan Islands. But Jane's real calling came when there was a need to do something very new – to create the first book of hiking trails on Vancouver Island.

There had been one previous failed attempt to write a trail guide for Vancouver Island. Then, in the early 1970's, the OCV was approached to facilitate a new attempt. A committee was set up. And as Jane said to me, "To my surprise, as a newcomer, I'd been invited onto this committee solely because of my enthusiasm for Vancouver Island and BC maps. One day I was asked to look after all the material till they could find a new editor. I needed only to keep the stuff – so I agreed." And the rest is history.

That Christmas, in 1972, the little book became an instant best-seller – 45 pages – and cost $1.00. This was only the start. Two more volumes were published within a couple of years. Jane served as the editor for all the first books, revisions were done with volunteers, maps hand-drawn, and regular updates produced. It was all done by typewriter and printed in black and white, a very different process from today.

But the whole standard of production changed over the years, improved with each new edition, full-colour production with many colour photos and digitally-produced maps. "It has gone beyond my dreams. There are so many people to be thanked," Jane said three years ago when she gave a presentation about the books at Douglas House, and which she asked me to participate in to give people an update on the present situation.

The books have gone through 32 editions since 1972 with an estimated more than 100,000 copies sold. The proceeds have generated bursaries and a scholarship and many donations to parks and various outdoor organisations.

That is Jane's legacy. She was the founding president of VITIS [Vancouver Island Trails Information Society] in 1972, set up a non-profit society and led the organisation until 1991. Even after she left, she wanted to be kept informed and get a copy of each new edition. She has done much to publicise hiking on Vancouver Island through the creation, editing and publishing of the Hiking Trails Vol 1-3 books, all on a voluntary, non-paid basis.

Jane was awarded an honorary life membership in both VITIS and the OCV, two organisations that have meant so much to her, and for which she has done so much. She was a remarkable person, and a tough cookie at that. She had an iron will and great determination. We very much appreciate what she has done for the hiking community and the outdoors. Her memory will not be forgotten. The Vancouver Island Trails Information Society will sponsor a memorial bench for Jane in one of our beautiful regional parks.