A year of great trail progress in Vernon

Ribbons of Green Trails Society

In the North Okanagan, 2018 was a fantastic year for trails and trail users, thanks to our local and regional governments, non-government organizations, and the generosity of our community in fundraising for the rail trail.

In 2018, major trail routes were completed, or are near completion, and a new future rail trail route was acquired.

Thanks to multi-government collaboration and generous donations to the Okanagan Rail Trail, most of the trail has been built, with only 7 km awaiting construction. By next year, a continuous 50 km trail could connect Coldstream to downtown Kelowna. North of the rail trail, the Kalamalka Lake Road multi-use path now completes the connection between Coldstream and Polson Park in Vernon.

The Regional District of North Okanagan and Columbia Shuswap Regional District completed the purchase of the CP Rail Corridor between Armstrong and Sicamous early in 2018. This nearly 50 km trail, along with the Okanagan Rail Trail and Kettle Valley Rail Trail will eventually be part of a route connecting Sicamous to Osoyoos. Through a partnership including the Splatsin, regional, local and provincial governments, and non-government organizations, construction of the northern rail trail will begin in 2019 and could be complete by 2023.

To join the Okanagan Rail Trail with the Armstrong to Sicamous rail trail, a 25-km connecting route (approx.) is required. Next year, the City of Vernon will complete the final short link (along 30th St) of the 29th/30th St. multi-use path, a north-south route that bisects the City Centre and connects Polson Park with Village Green Mall. The route through Polson Park will be improved with paving and lighting. A new initiative will see the construction of a multi-use path on 48th Ave. from the Village Green Mall to Highway 97. This will connect the 29th/30th Street path to hotels and other services on Anderson way. A northern extension north of Highway 97 to Armstrong is in planning stages.

Gaps in the Grey Canal trail encircling Greater Vernon have been filled this year through acquisition and/or construction. Of the approximately 45km of Grey Canal Trail within Greater Vernon, roughly 25km are now open.

Several other trails have also been completed this year, including the Kal-Crystal Waters Trail above the Okanagan Rail Trail, and work is proceeding for trail signage and mapping.

Trails investments are well appreciated

Trail use counters on the Okanagan Rail Trail tell the story by the numbers, and happy, healthy enjoyment by all types of community members vouch for the importance of all our local trails.

The Okanagan Rail Trail is already exceeding use projections, even before it is complete. Trail counters in the North Okanagan and Lake Country alone recorded over 400,000 users between February and November. The highest use is in the northern trailhead section through Coldstream. Use is year-round. The first users, often running groups or dog walkers arrive around 5 a.m. More data is required to clearly distinguish between cyclists and walkers, but it doesn’t take data to appreciate the variety of users and the big smiles of enjoyment. Seniors, families, athletes, people with mobility challenges, friends, activity clubs, schools are just some of the users enjoying the Okanagan Rail Trail.

Our trails have many values from health and wellness, to tourism and economic development. Compared to bricks and mortar, they cost little to develop and maintain. We encourage our local and regional governments to keep up the good work on these valued amenities.

Get involved

Ribbons of Green Trails Society has been working with local governments for over 25 years to advance trail development and maintenance in the Greater Vernon area. If you have skills and interests in trail planning and operations, communications, policy work, research, and advocacy, we are looking for new directors. We meet monthly, on the third Monday at 7:30 a.m. To find out more, please email info@ribbonsofgreen.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lumby Lions name Good Citizen of the Year

Award goes to Lumby Food Bank operator and North Okanagan Valley Gleaners volunteer Robert Wilkinson

North Okanagan sisters-in-law sleep out successful

Kiley Routley and Heidi Routley raise nearly $2,400 and awareness for youth homelessness

Vernon youth questioned by RCMP after incident on school roof

Police receive reports of debris being thrown from Seaton Secondary roof Saturday

Vernon restaurant winging it with colour

Wings hosts colouring contests where child patrons can win gift certificates

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

A few natural phenomena are possible causes for their deaths.

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Most Read