A day on the trails

Snow still exists on higher elevation trails such as Seven Summits but most trails are riding in prime conditions.

The first pass inspection and maintenance of the massive trail network in the region has been completed by the Kootenay Columbia Trails Society, and its most popular hikes, including Seven Summits, are close to being open.

The society’s trails manager, Stewart Spooner, said snow still exists on higher elevation trails such as Seven Summits, with minor amounts on Larch Ridge (some windfall also), but otherwise, most trails are riding in prime conditions.

“I’m constantly asked about when the Seven Summits trail might open, and though I haven’t much to go on, my crystal ball gazing tells me to place my bet on June 27,” he said in a press release.

The trail crew has spent the first month of the work season methodically working through inspection and maintenance of as many of the trails in the network as time and conditions allow.

The list of trails that have been assessed and cleared include: Cemetery, Rogers, Upper Green Door, Larry’s, Moe’s, Tamarack, Kootenay Columbia, KC Ridge, Rubberhead, Whiskey, Miral Heights, Bluffs, TechnoGrind, Miners, Redhead, Redtop, Full Monte, Drakes, Milky Way and Monticola.

It’s a lot of ground to cover, and so there are many issues and improvements that the crew can’t address them all on the first pass, but all are documented and will be taken care of later in the season.

Spooner said the society prioritizes the most popular trails and weekly trail crew reports are posted on the KCTS website to provide details of progress.

“We have removed a large number of fallen trees across the Dewdney and Dewdney Backside trails for a clear passage, however, both trails were very wet and rough from the recent rainfall,” he said.

This weekend is volunteer trails day. The plan for June 8 is to construct an upper extension to Redhead trail, which will incorporate a roller-coaster section.

“But you’ll have to be there to find out out more,” Spooner said.

The volunteer day begins on Saturday at 9 a.m., meeting in the Centennial Trailhead Parking Lot. From there work crews will convoy to the parking areas of the trailhead being worked on.

People can stay as long as they can, but the day usually finished around 2-4 p.m. A potluck starts at 6 p.m. at Alpine Grind (bring your signature dish).

For the day people are asked to bring food for the day, water, bug repellant, sunscreen and gloves, but can also bring a pick, shovel, metal rake or clippers (no powered tools).

The Central Kootenay Invasive Plant Committee (CKIPC) and biologists from Pandion Ecological Research Ltd. will be assisting volunteers during the annual trails day to control invasive teasel along the Green Door trail.

The Green Door trail runs through very sensitive grassland habitat, which hosts three species at risk, including the western skink, rubber boa, and western yellow-bellied racer snake.

It is the goal of the CKIPC and Pandion to reduce the impact that invasive specie like teasel are having on the site and the animals that make their homes there, said Spooner.

If a minimum of 10 volunteers come out to assist with teasel control on June 8, the CKIPC will provide the KCTS with a $250 honorarium.

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