Open the Kettle Valley Railway from Merritt to Spences Bridge as a multi-use trail
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Bicycling is one of the fastest growing sports in the world; its a great way to stay in physical shape; a wonderful family recreation activity; and a life-long activity that one can do wherever there's a trail or a road. And it is very reasonably priced so that virtually anyone can participate.
Many old railways are being used now for hiking/running/equestrian and biking---close to us is the Kettle Valley Railway, (KVR) at Kelowna; Myra Canyon----a short trail that attracts hundreds of people on a daily basis; and which supports several recreation related businesses; ie bike rentals.
The old KVR railway between Merritt and Spences Bridge could be a wonderful opportunity to have a recreation facility which would attract tourists (to walk/run/horse ride) through this lovely semi-arid river corridor; a corridor which has beautiful and unique scenery that will be of particular interest to folks from the wet Lower Mainland; to come to this river valley of hoodoos, tunnels, clear, fast flowing water---and idyllic deep pools where salmon and steelhead trout linger.
The old KVR passes alongside private lands on its journey to Spences Bridge; and it also passes through lands of the Nlakapmaux People. So, is there any advantage to a Band to support this Trail concept?
Yes. Recreation users of the Trail would benefit greatly from opportunities to camp/picnic/buy snacks and recreation supplies, along the Trail. Most users of the Trail would prefer to have an overnight stop; especially if the 'stop' was an opportunity to stay in a tepee/yurt/cabin alongside the river. Too, many users would subscribe to opportunities to fish and swim and canoe/kayak/float on the lovely Nicola River. And many would avail themselves of opportunities to travel into the uplands, by horse, hiking, or ATV; guided by persons with local knowledge of the flora/fauna/geography, and history. The location of the Reserves along the Trail would provide a myriad of opportunity for locals to provide services; not only in the peak summer season; but also through the winter to accommodate XC skiers and snowshoers, as well as hikers and bikers.
I have ridden my mountain bike the length of the proposed Trail, and there are two areas that require some extensive bank retention and stabilization. There will need to be regular maintenance of the Trail; to remove deadfalls and correct any erosion problems, as well as ensure that waste is dealt with accordingly and collected in a timely manner; many opportunities for locals to volunteer and work.
So, what is needed to bring the concept to reality? A committee of locals needs to be formed; and consultations begun with the Nlakapmaux People. If agreement of the concept is achieved; then funds must be secured to plan the project, and develop a budget for construction, and subsequent maintenance. And parties who wish to provide services to the Trail users must be identified and contracted. Likely, the BC Government, and the TNRD will be involved from start to finish. Likely, the Trail would be operated by a government, or by a legal Committee; to ensure that all legal matters are covered for volunteers, workers, and recreation users. It is likely that users would pay a fee to use the Trail, as well as to buy services along the way; and at the two trailheads; Merritt and Spences Bridge.
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