Hikers and bikers won’t likely be using the Galena Trail from Three Forks to the cable car anytime soon.
Regional District of Central Kootenay staff are still assessing the work that has to be done on that portion of the trail, including the historic cable car, before repair work can begin.
“There is going to be a geotechnical assessment of what needs to be done to do the repairs in a way that will return the trail and the cable car both to a stable operating condition,” says Richard Allin, the chair of the commission that oversees the trail.
The 13-kilometre trail was first damaged late last year when Carpenter Creek undercut a bank and sloughed off a point on the trail. But that was nothing compared to what followed during the spring freshet, especially the storm that hit the region on the May 31 weekend.
“The creek just raged through there, and did some damage to the access point of the trailhead, and further eroded the trail, until there was less than a metre of trail, then a steep drop-off to the creek,” says Allin.
The upper portion of the trail has been closed from Three Forks to the cable car since. The portion of the trail from the cable car to Rosebery, about two-thirds the overall length, is still open to the public.
The popular cable car was first closed in early spring during the coronavirus shutdown, as it was feared public use of the hand-pulled cable car could spread the virus. The rain event in May also damaged the foundation of the cable car, and it will also have to be repaired.
The geotechnical survey, which is to get underway this summer, says Allin, will be a complete assessment of both the washed-out section of the trail and the cable car’s underpinning.
The work is being done with the help of a federal government grant of $100,000 for repair work under the Canada Infrastructure Program. That money is being matched by $80,000 from the Province and $20,000 from the Regional District. It’s being topped up with a provincial disaster assistance program grant the RDCK has received, says Allin.
Repairing the damaged portion of the trail will not begin at least until next season, says Allin. In the meantime, the public is asked to respect posted signage and stay off the closed portion of the trail.
— From the Valley Voice