Trails around the Columbia Basin will see upgrades and additions this spring to make them safer and more accessible. This is thanks to 25 new projects that are receiving nearly $500,000 from Columbia Basin Trust’s Trail Enhancement Grants.
“Basin residents have told us that outdoor recreation opportunities are essential for their physical and mental well-being,” said Michelle d’Entremont, Manager of Delivery of Benefits with the Columbia Basin Trust. “With more people staying and exploring their local surroundings, these projects will provide greater access to rehabilitated and new trails so we can continue to enjoy and benefit from them.”
In addition to creating new trails, the projects focus on activities like repairing damaged trails, increasing accessibility for a variety of users, addressing environmental issues, incorporating Indigenous cultural or heritage values and repairing or adding trail infrastructure and amenities. Learn more at ourtrust.org/trailgrants.
An Alpine Oasis
Visitors to the Creston Community Forest can currently choose from eight trails that provide 32 kilometres of scenic escapes and lead to three picnic and camping sites. The Creston Valley Forest Corporation will now add a new destination: a small lake tucked at the base of Mt. Thompson’s alpine slopes. It will do so by building a 1.8-km trail to connect the existing Rim Trail to Bonnie Lake, adding a short trail alongside the lake and upgrading the roughed-in camping area with a picnic table, fire ring and bench.
“Hiking is a key outdoor activity for area residents and visitors, and Mt. Thompson is an iconic feature and landmark for Creston and the region,” said Jerry Bauer, Board member with the Creston Valley Forest Corporation. “The new trail will provide access to a small, alpine lake, thus providing a different and unique hiking experience and the opportunity for backcountry picnicking and camping.”
Connecting the Community
The Elkford Trails Alliance Society only came into existence in fall 2020, and already it has ambitious plans to increase the non-motorized trail network for the people in the community. Its first project will be to build a trail that will link the three main areas of Elkford: downtown, middletown and uptown. The trail will be easy enough for people of all ages and skill levels to walk or bike on. It will also connect with trails that venture into the surrounding wilderness.
“Currently, there are streets, sidewalks and motorized trails that connect these areas, but much of it is too steep or rough for non‐motorized use,” said Katherine Russell, Board member with the Elkford Trails Alliance Society. “This project will enhance recreation and physical activity by providing safe, easy, non-motorized trails that will appeal to children and novices.”
Adding a Mountainside Option
West of Kaslo, Mount Buchanan provides a spectacular view of Kootenay Lake and a variety of trails that offer all-season use to hikers, bikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers. To make these slopes even more accessible and appealing, the Kaslo Outdoor Recreation and Trail Society and Kaslo Mountain Bike Club are spearheading a project to build a new 4.5-kilometre trail that will connect existing Upper Songbird Trail to Upper Bucky Cabin. Later, if additional grants are approved, a trail will be built right up to the Mount Buchanan summit and lookout.
“This project will establish an important link in the expanding Kaslo and area trail network system and provide the foundation on which to further develop trails on Mount Buchanan,” said Stuart Heard, Secretary of the Kaslo Outdoor Recreation and Trail Society. “It will promote and enhance accessibility to the outdoor environment for all ages, including families and seniors, and encourage people to become physically active in and around Kaslo.”
Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit ourtrust.org.
Columbia Basin Trust operates in the unceded traditional territories of the Ktunaxa, Lheidli T’enneh, Secwepemc, Sinixt and Syilx Nations.