Pexels

Lake Country residents rally for horses on Okanagan Rail Trail

A petition for horses presented to council Tuesday night gathered more than 1,000 signatures

A petition to allow horses on the Okanagan Rail Trail has far surpassed its mark of 1,000 signatures.

Lake Country residents presented the petition, created by the nonprofit Old Friends Canada, a horse, donkey and mule rescue society, to Lake Country council Tuesday night.

READ MORE: Petition launched in Lake Country to let horses use the Rail Trail

The petition gathered around 800 written signatures and 500 signatures online, said Old Friends director Deb Mason. The petition has been circulating around Lake Country since June.

Deborah Battrum, president with the soceity, also listed tourism benefits, saying horse riders will visit from other areas and use the trail as well as contribute to the local economy.

“There are a lot of other towns in B.C. that have horses and different groups have been able to benefit,” she said.

She suggested a trial period of six months to allow horses on the trail and reassess the situation afterwards.

The Old Friends society is also willing to request for grants for summer student positions for students to patrol the area to spread education and monitor the rail trail, Battrum said.

“We can see by history through the other trails have been successful both in Kelowna and around B.C. that it isn’t the case, I think it’s the lack of education that is really important to be able to provide to the community,” said Mason. “It adds an exciting new competent to what the rail trail provides to Lake Country.”

Eight residents also protested council’s decision to ban horses from the rail trail Monday by travelling around Lake Country on horseback. They said they were met with honking and flustered drivers, but the horses were not affected, as they are properly trained, said resident Susan Dumaine.

She said as a resident near the rail trail she would ride her horse to OFK Grill, and nearby parks, but after regulations passed it became impossible to safety ride her horse on alternate routes.

“We can’t go on Oyama Road, it’s just crazy with traffic and people are going all kinds of speeds and I think there’s a way to share the trail and make it safe for everyone,” she said.

One resident suggested using horse poop bags and ensuring horse riders clean up after their horses.

Another complained that dog poop is already an issue and that it is often found in bags along the trail, and that horse poop is unlikely to spread invasive seeds.

In June the bylaw amendment was adopted which prevents horses and off-leash dogs on the trail.

READ MORE: No horses or dogs off-leash on the Okanagan Rail Trail

In a previous interview with The Calendar, Matt Vader, manager of strategic and support services, said horses are not recommended on the trail because the animals’ droppings could carry invasive weed seeds.

The amendment aims to prevent conflicts between the agricultural properties along the trail and animals, he said.

Horses are not permitted on rail trail lands in Kelowna and in the North Okanagan.

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Okanagan adventurer continues motorcycle trip around the world

Vernon local James Leigh recently completed the third of five legs of the journey, travelling through China and Kazakhstan

Riders “step up” their game at Equestrian Clinic

Riders from across the Okanagan travelled to Coldstream to train for the 2019 55+ Senior Games, which take place in Kelowna this fall.

Update: Mother dead, youth in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Sandy Point Campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Vernon students dance their way to provincials

“It is an amazing experience for these young ladies and has definitely become a yearly goal for them all.”

Okanagan Science Centre hosts first Teen Science Café

“This is a great opportunity to take science out of the classroom and learn with other students our age.”

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Vernon teen’s support ferret found

“Thank you to everybody for sharing and posting, getting the word out, and looking.”

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Former Greyhound bus drivers gather in the Okanagan for one last hurrah

Bash kicks off Friday in Penticton and runs until Sunday

ICBC urging drivers to slow down this May long weekend

Speed is number one cause of car crash fatalities: ICBC

Bucks hammer Raptors 125-103 to take 2-0 playoff series lead

Toronto heads home in a hole after second loss to Milwaukee

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Most Read