Columbia Basin trails to see improvements

Columbia Basin Trust increases recreation opportunities with $484,000 for 29 trail projects; Revelstoke ATV Club and Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club among recipients.

The Summit Trail Makers Society will be improving access to Azure Lake with support from Columbia Basin Trust’s Trail Enhancement Grants. Photo : Joe Lucas.

Both the Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club and the Revelstoke ATV Club will see projects benefit from a Columbia Basin Trust Trail Enhancement grant.

The Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club is set to receive $25,000 to develop a 1.6 kilometer connector trail by installing bridges and culverts to manage water flow as part of the Revelstoke Nordic Bridge Connector Development. The Revelstoke ATV Club will receive $4,000 to replace stairs and culverts, and reroute switchbacks, to improve access to the lookout as part of the Revelstoke Sproat Mountain Lookout Infrastructure Rehabilitation.

A statement from Columbia Basin Trust said in a total of 29 projects will be adding to or improving the region’s trails with more than $484,000 from the Trail Enhancement Grants.

Here is more of what the CBT had to say about the grants;

“Active, outdoor lifestyles are a prominent part of Basin culture, and we’re fortunate to be able to recreate in such beautiful natural settings,” said Tim Hicks, Senior Manager, Delivery of Benefits. “Basin residents told us it’s a priority for the Trust to support projects that make getting out into these areas even better, so that more diverse recreation opportunities are available for residents.”

This three-year, $1.5-million program helps build new trails or rehabilitate existing ones that, for example, were damaged in storms or have aging infrastructure like bridges. The aim is to make trails more accessible and user-friendly to a wider variety of users, incorporate Indigenous cultural or heritage values, reduce environmental impacts or connect existing trails. Funding may also go toward amenities like signs and benches.

These 29 projects mark the first intake of the program. The next intake will open on April 4, 2019.

Here are a few of the successful projects from around the region:

More Places to Zoom

The Valemount and Area Recreation Development Association will be adding trails to the Valemount Bike Park with support from Columbia Basin Trust’s Trail Enhancement Grants.

Over two dozen trails meander, switchback and criss-cross through the Valemount Bike Park, located only minutes from the Village of Valemount. Soon this number of options will go up, as the Valemount and Area Recreation Development Association undertakes a project to add three new intermediate-level trails: two downhill ones and a climbing one.

“Recreation opportunities are the reason many of our residents live here and why visitors choose to come here,” said General Manager Curtis Pawliuk. “The more we are able to provide quality recreational experiences, the more people will be drawn outside and into physical activity. Members of our community young and old have begun to jump on bikes and get back outside.”

New Ways to Enjoy the Views

The Mt. Thompson trail system offers beautiful views like these. The Creston Valley Forest Corporation will be improving this network with support from Columbia Basin Trust’s Trail Enhancement Grants.

The trail system on Mt. Thompson is known for its epic views. Thanks to a project by the Creston Valley Forest Corporation, spearheaded by Board member Jerry Bauer, there will soon be new and improved ways for hikers, mountain bikers, snowshoers and horseback riders to enjoy this awe-inspiring landscape. The project will upgrade four current trails and construct two new connector trails.

“Hiking and associated outdoor activities are a fundamental part of the culture of the Creston Valley, and Mt. Thompson is an iconic local feature and landmark,” said Forest Manager Daniel Gratton. “This project will provide trail users with a variety of difficulties, distances and terrain. By tying all the trails together, users will be able to start from the valley bottom and head to the top of Mt. Thompson: a distance of
11 kilometres.”

 An Easier, More Accessible Route

Stunningly blue Azure Lake is tucked in the Purcell Mountains near Invermere. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to access because of all the trees blown down across the trail, which forces hikers off the path. To improve the hiking experience, the Summit Trail Makers Society is leading the project to reroute and upgrade the trail, which is managed in cooperation with Recreation Sites and Trails BC, build bridges and add trailhead amenities like toilets and signage.

“This project will add a high-quality trail to the suite of trails in the Columbia Valley while protecting its wetland areas,” said President Brian Wesley. “Many groups will benefit, including hikers of all abilities, birders, biologists, geology enthusiasts, photographers and even local businesses.”