Representatives of Vernon Rotary Clubs, starting left: Angela Yablonski (Vernon Rotary), Dustin Stadnyk (Kalamalka Rotary), and Michael Wardlow (Silver Star Rotary) present the proceeds from fall fundraising to Anna Dawyd and Laurie Postill (Friends of Okanagan Rail Trail) to help create the Northern Gateway to Okanagan Rail Trail. (Contributed)

Representatives of Vernon Rotary Clubs, starting left: Angela Yablonski (Vernon Rotary), Dustin Stadnyk (Kalamalka Rotary), and Michael Wardlow (Silver Star Rotary) present the proceeds from fall fundraising to Anna Dawyd and Laurie Postill (Friends of Okanagan Rail Trail) to help create the Northern Gateway to Okanagan Rail Trail. (Contributed)

Rail Trail boosted by North Okanagan Rotary Clubs

More than $7,400 raised to develop gateway at Kilometre Zero

Rotary Clubs in Vernon are no stranger to raising funds to support the region’s most used trail system.

Both the Vernon, Silver Star and Kalamalka Rotaries had made generous donations toward the initial building of the Okanagan Rail Trail, which was completed in 2018, so it was a clear next-step to support the Kilometre Zero Trailhead.

So far, the service clubs have donated more than $7,400 to the Rail Trail Gateway which will function to welcome trail users in a safe off-road area and set the stage for a memorable experience.

Fundraising was no easy feat due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions. The Rotary clubs had to get creative.

In September, the Silver Star, Vernon and Kalamalka Rotaries got together to hold a socially-distanced, numbers-restricted, hand-sanitized garage sale, followed up with a pie sale.

The Greater Vernon Museum, Funtastic Sports Society and BX Press Cidery also contributed efforts totalling $7,400.35 for the rail trail.

“Health and wellness of local residents has always been a priority for our club,” Silver Star Rotary president Teresa Durning said. “The Okanagan Rail Trail is so well used, by all ages and fitness levels and especially during the stressful times of the COVID-19 pandemic. We could not imagine a better fit for our fundraising priorities. We also appreciate the economic value of the trail and the role of our community’s trailhead in welcoming visitors.”

Fundraising chair Laurie Postill of the Friends of Okanagan Rial Trail said the success of the Rotary Club’s fundraising allowed the first phase of Kilometre Zero development to go ahead.

“We still need to raise funds for temporary irrigation to allow the newly planted naturescaping to become established and then can move to Phase 2 of gateway development,” Postill said. “The second phase will include a plaza and hilltop lookout, as well as public art and interpretation to connect trail users to our community stories.”

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