Hiking trail open to all users

Motorized vehicles such as motorbikes and all-terrain vehicles are allowed on the popular Rose Swanson Mountain hiking trail

Hikers in Armstrong and Spallumcheen take note.

Motorized vehicles such as motorbikes, dirtbikes, quads and all-terrain vehicles are allowed on the popular Rose Swanson Mountain hiking trail.

The Township of Spallumcheen received a letter from a resident asking for signage to be installed at the trail head informing users that motorized vehicles are not permitted.

The writer unwittingly told a young rider at the top of the mountain trail that motorbikes were not allowed.

“Two motorbikes had been up there causing damage, lots of loose rocks and dirt torn up,” wrote resident Bent Kristensen. “We are frequent users of this trail and would hate it to see it ruined.”

Adding to the confusion is an old trail pamphlet that, according to Kristensen, “clearly states that no motorized vehicles are allowed.”

A current pamphlet of area trails and maps  produced by the Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce does not state or imply such a rule.

Township chief administrative officer Corey Paiement informed council that a letter had been received from the Okanagan Shuswap Natural Resource District that states the district is “not in a position to designate the Rose Swanson trail system” under a section of the Forest and Range Practices Act.

“We all enjoy a number of designated trail systems in the Okanagan and we are aware of the interests of folks who would like to see more,” wrote Ray Crampton, district manager.

“Simply put, we are not able to designate them all and areas like Rose Swanson remain unencumbered Crown land, free for the enjoyment and legitimate recreation of hikers, responsible ATV riders and motorcycle enthusiasts.

“As such, we have no jurisdiction to apply a non-motorized restriction to the trail system.”

Crampton suggested the Armstrong Spallumcheen Trails Society could post some signage asking users to respect the trails for their community hiking values.

“We would agree to that, certainly,” said Peter Rotzetter, president of the trails society.

“We can’t do more, we can’t tell people not to use motorized vehicles but we can ask them to respect the existing trails and consider using other areas for their motorbikes.”