The spectacular Okanagan Rail Trail from Coldstream. (Linda Busch photo)

The spectacular Okanagan Rail Trail from Coldstream. (Linda Busch photo)

Get Outdoors! And explore North Okanagan trails

But, remember to uphold good trail etiquette

We’re so lucky to have many wonderful, scenic nature trails in and around Vernon.

The Grey Canal trails surrounding Vernon and Coldstream, the BX Creek trail links, trails in Kalamalka Lake and Ellison Provincial Parks, Swan Lake Nature Reserve Park, trails at Silver Star and Predator Ridge, and the 50-kilometre Okanagan Rail Trail from Coldstream to Kelowna are just some of our spectacular trail options.

These trails enhance the fitness and health of our community and environment.

Walking, hiking, jogging and cycling are mentally uplifting, physically invigorating and nonpolluting.

They can even be healthy travel corridors to school, work, shopping, etc., instead of driving.

But our trails require trail etiquette, responsible use, care and maintenance.

So we’re fortunate to have the Ribbons of Green Trail Society (ROGTS) – a group of dedicated community volunteers who advocate for local trails and their care. You’ll find the best map and trail list at ribbonsofgreen.ca with great trail descriptions.

Trail etiquette

Stay on trails to prevent erosion, stop weed spread (weed seeds easily cling to clothing and shoes) and for your own safety.

This maintains a natural, healthy habitat for wildlife, wildflowers, plants and trees, and keeps the trails and parkland beautiful and in top condition.

And staying on the trails minimizes the chance of you getting ticks, encountering rattlesnakes, cactus, poison ivy, tripping, slipping or other dangers.

Walk your dog in one of our many great dog parks. In some dog parks, they can even run free. The Regional District of North Okanagan has the best map and list of local dog parks online at rdno.ca.

Other parks and trails allow dogs only in permitted areas on trails while on leash.

This protects dogs from getting ticks, cactus or snake bites and prevents the spread of invasive weeds, protects wildlife and their habitat and prevents dog fights and dangerous encounters with other trail users. If you see any loose dogs, breaking the rules or causing problems on trails or in parks call Dog Control ASAP at 250-545-8070.

Eliminating Invasive weeds (such as Scotch Thistle and knapweed) is important to keep our wildlife habitats healthy and ecosystems intact and functioning. So please stay on the trails and learn to control these weeds.

Trained volunteers identify, properly remove these weeds before they set seeds and dispose of them. The North Okanagan Naturalist Club (NONC), Friends of the Rail Trail (FORT), and Friends of Kalamalka Lake Park all have invasive weed control programs. Join them to help out.

And we’re even more fortunate to be surrounded by many fabulous rec sites and trails around Vernon that are maintained by Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and BC Parks.

So, get out and enjoy our trails! And help take care of them.

Roseanne enthusiastically shares her knowledge of the outdoors to help readers experience and enjoy nature. Discover exciting and adventurous natural events, best trails, and wild places. Follow her on Facebook to learn more about the Okanagan outdoors.