The Splatsin Band is championing a $12.5 million grant application for the development of the Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail.
With written support from rail trail partners, the Columbia Shuswap Shuswap Regional District and the Regional District of the North Okanagan, the Splatsin Band has submitted an application for grant funding through the Infrastructure Canada Active Transportation Fund. If successful, the grant money would cover the development of 42.6 kilometres of trail within Splatsin te Secwépemc territory – the Bruhn Bridge in Sicamous to kilometre 42.6 near Stepney Road in the Township of Spallumcheen.
Splatsin’s efforts to lead this initiative are founded on the understanding that the trail forms part of their unceded Secwépemc territorial lands.
“Splatsin strives to assume the role of caretaker of their traditional lands on behalf of the Splatsin people and the Secwépemc Nation for the benefit and use of the Secwépemc people and its neighbours now and in the future,” said Kukpi7 (Chief) Doug Thomas in a May 30 media release.
Thomas said the economic and land management benefits of the rail trail are the tip of the iceberg.
“The rail trail will promote a healthy lifestyle and exercise, family outings, the appreciation of nature and knowledge of the land, as well as an improved understanding of the Secwépemc values and culture.”
According to the release, the non-motorized recreational rail trail would create an active transportation corridor for walking and cycling between Sicamous and Spallumcheen. It will create new tourism and transportation benefits for the region – including the eventual linkage with the recently opened Okanagan Rail Trail and 200 kilometres south to Osoyoos.
The total length of the Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail is 50 kilometres; however, the final 7.4-kilometre section near Armstrong is not a part of this application. It will be considered for other grant applications in the future.
As of September 2021, about $1.4 million had been raised for the rail trail project, including $700,000 in grant funding for a pilot section of the trail within the City of Enderby and Splatsin territory.
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