A year of grant writing, fundraising and collaborations has led to the release of new designs for kilometre zero of the Okanagan Rail Trail.
A group of local volunteers known as Friends of Okanagan Rail Trail (FORT) began work on the trailhead in 2019. Phase one of the work involved planting native plant species and restoring grassland at the trail’s Northern Gateway. Now the group is halfway towards its fundraising goal to bring phase two to life.
“Granting agencies, community residents and corporations supported the initial vision for the trailhead. Now with detailed plans, we need your support to make it happen,” said FORT chair Laurie Postill.
The designs show plans for shade structures, seating and way-finding and interpretive signage at the trailhead. Site improvements will reflect and celebrate the natural and cultural values of the northern trail section and the K’ək’maplqs (the Little Head of the Lake) area in Coldstream.
“The Okanagan Rail Trail was originally part of a larger interconnected network of trails utilized by our people to access all parts of Northern Syilx Territory to undertake essential sustenance, societal and spiritual activities. K’ək’maplqs was important for fishing, hunting, and harvesting, and remains of pit houses have been found in the vicinity,” said Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Louis.
The budget for phase two of the project is $294,000. So far, $97,650 in grant funding has been received as well as $53,000 in donations.
Donations are being accepted online by Community Foundation of the North Okanagan and Central Okanagan Foundation.