Columbia Basin Trust is supporting trail projects throughout the Kootenays.
Some trails will be longer, get upgraded surfaces, or have new bridges or benches. In 17 communities, 26 projects are improving trails, supported by Columbia Basin Trust. In addition, 16 organizations are receiving Trust funds to offer 38 trail-crew jobs.
“Together, these projects will give Columbia Basin residents and visitors access to even better and wellmaintained trail systems as they experience the region’s incredible surroundings, while at the same time providing jobs,” said Justine Cohen, Manager, Delivery of Benefits, Columbia Basin Trust. “Getting outside can positively influence physical and mental health, and help us connect with nature, so trails can have wide-reaching impacts.”
Projects include activities such as enhancing existing trails or adding infrastructure like benches or signage. The Trust is also providing wage subsidies so organizations can hire trail workers, enabling unemployed and underemployed Basin residents to gain valuable work experience and advance their skills while at the same time enhancing trails.
Easier Maintenance Ahead for a Local Amenity
Getting exercise and spending time with a buddy are some of the reasons users have said they love the West Jaffray trail system. Now the South Country Trails and Recreation Association is improving the trails by adding crushed rock in some often-muddy locations, buying a tool shed and purchasing trailmaintenance equipment like rakes, shovels and wheelbarrows.
“We look forward to continuing to make our trail system as user-friendly and enjoyable to our community members as possible,” said Kristina Woodford, Treasurer. “This project will enhance the usability and beauty of our newly built trails, so that school groups, seniors and people with differing abilities can use the trails and feel safe, all while promoting health and wellness in our community.”
Revamped Access to Spectacular Views
The trails have names like Songbird, True Blue, Friendly Giant and Straight Face. Rising up Mount Buchanan near Kaslo, the network will benefit from activities like adding connector trails, removing hazardous trees and upgrading signage, overseen by the Kaslo Outdoor Recreation and Trails Society. The society will also hire two trail crew employees.
“Our club saw an amazing number of riders accessing these trails in summer 2022, and our projects reflect the need to stay ahead of this influx of users of various age groups, skill levels and abilities,” said Dan Miles, President. “Well-developed and maintained trails promote an active lifestyle, and these trails will continue to help Kaslo and the north end of Kootenay Lake participate in the unprecedented expansion of mountain bike culture and trail tourism in BC.”
A Section of Rail Trail Gets a Brighter Future
Since the 1980s, people have been using the rail trail between Summit Lake and New Denver for commuting, recreation and wildlife viewing. Now the Rosebery Bonanza Summit Trail Alliance Society is improving an eight-kilometre section between Rosebery and Hills to make it more inclusive for users, while keeping in mind the environment and wildlife values.
“Everybody loves rail trails!” said Mike Koolen, President. “This section will provide the last link in the corridor that stretches between Nakusp, New Denver and beyond, used by locals and visitors year-round for walking, cycling, cross-country skiing, beach access and wildlife viewing. Including this trail in our local inventory will help us continue to promote our trails as a recreation destination and important wildlife corridor while providing people with an enhanced trail experience.”
A total of $764.800 in grants have gone to the above projects, as well as projects in Castlegar, Crawford Bay, Elkford, Fernie, Golden, Invermere, Kimberley, Nakusp, Nelson, Rosebery, Rossland, Salmo, Slocan, Sparwood and Valemount.