The paid trail crews who build and maintain local hiking and biking trails for the Kootenay Columbia Trails Society (KCTS) will be getting a helping hand from volunteers over the next few weeks.
The KCTF crew will be joining helpers this Sunday in Trail to work on the Sunningdale portion of the new Miral Heights-to-Sunningdale trail.
“We’ll be meeting at the bottom of the water tower hill in Sunningdale at 9 a.m. Sunday,” said Jason Proulx of Gerick Cycle and Sports, the event’s sponsor again this year. “We’ll be providing the snacks and drinks and tools are provided by KCTS but extra shovels are always welcome.”
The trail network around Rossland will be getting attention as well when KCTS and volunteer crews will be celebrating the 10th annual Trails Day by getting out the picks and shovels May 31.
Isaac Saban, president of KCTS, says that activity is definitely ramping up now that the warmer, drier weather has arrived.
“We generally spend the winter putting together funding proposals to the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) and City of Rossland,” Saban said. “That’s what pays for the three-man crew over the summer and covers the trails manager’s wage, part-time over the winter and full-time over the summer.”
The proposals were successful again this year with the society receiving $68,000 from the RDKB and $21,000 from Rossland.
“The funding has been approved to finish work on the Sunningdale trail, there’s about a half kilometre to complete,” said Saban. “You can travel on it now but there’s still some finishing work to do.”
Seeing the trails system around Trail get developed has been a personal ambition of KCTS director, Hal Harrison.
“This is recreation at a fraction of the conventional cost,” Harrison said. “The recent recreation review underscored how expensive facilities are to build, maintain, and operate. The review also showed that outdoor trails are the recreation facility most used by people in Trail and the leading thing they’d like to see their recreation dollars spent on.”
In addition to the work in the valley the KCTS crews will be extending the trail system in Montrose to the Old Orchard trail from the flag pole above the Beaver Valley community and working on the trails around Red Mountain in Rossland.
“The volunteers on Trails Day will be focusing on the Upper Red Head trail,” Saban said. “Our ultimate goal is another trail from the top of Red down. Red Top is very popular with hikers and cyclists and it gets a lot of foot traffic and riders coming down at high speed. Another downhill option would make it safer, less pressure on the one trail.”
Tourism Rossland has recently produced a new map of the KCTS network showing the new extensions and trails in Rossland, Trail, and Montrose and the society is working on a new guide book that Saban says will be more focused on recommended rides rather than just a map of the whole network.
“We’re very pleased that local governments recognize the regional aspect of KCTS,” Saban said. “The funding from the RDKB is vital. It allows us to focus on one application rather than seven. That gives us more time to focus on the safety of the trails, agreements with landowners, dangerous trees, and invasive plant species. The RDKB funding allows us to do what we’re passionate about: providing an excellent recreational opportunity to the people of this area.”
More information on the local trails network, volunteering, or becoming a member of KCTS can be found at www.rosslandtrails.ca.