The Grey Canal section of trail in the Bella Vista offers stunning views. (Photo submitted)

EDITORIAL: Vernon trails require vision

Significant money has been invested in Greater Vernon’s trail network over the years, but we’re on the verge of losing its full potential

Significant money has been invested in Greater Vernon’s trail network over the years, but we’re on the verge of losing its full potential.

Specifically, there is no concrete structure to manage or promote the various routes or ensure they physically link so the recreational experience is enhanced.

“We need a good planning process with lots of vision,” said Debbie Clarke, with the Ribbons of Green Society.

Much of the current focus is on the Okanagan Rail Trail, but there is so much more beyond that. Portions of the Grey Canal Trail are still being developed as are connections between Polson Park and Kalamalka Lake and from the Kal Lake lookout to Crystal Waters Road. Already done is a stretch from Polson Park to Okanagan Lake.

Discussions need to be held around basic amenities such as washrooms and parking, but there also needs to be a strategy to promote Greater Vernon as a destination for hikers and cyclists.

“It’s important that someone checks into a hotel and knows how to get on to the Grey Canal,” said Victor Cummings, with Ribbons of Green.

“People will come here to live or visit with these kinds of trails.”

Obviously no one likes more bureaucracy, but a detailed process is required to ensure our trails benefit the community for the long-term. And the process shouldn’t simply be dumped on to government as there are clubs and residents who can contribute so much.

But what is needed is for the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee to bring everyone together.

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