Lots of volunteers, both humans and goats, put time into trail clearing this past summer on the Lois Creek Trails. Submitted file.

Lots of volunteers, both humans and goats, put time into trail clearing this past summer on the Lois Creek Trails. Submitted file.

Much work has been done on Kimberley’s Lois Creek Trails

Don Davies For the Bulletin

The Lois Creek trail system has a long history of community use. The exact date of the early logging that gave birth to many of the trails is hard to pin down but their formation is close to 100 years old. Harry Gamble, the General Foreman of Cominco in the early 1900’s had a daughter Lois whose name was used as a moniker to identify the trails. Unfortunately Lois died in 1918 from the Spanish Flu epidemic.

It was mainly horse logging in the early days that allowed local sawmills to provide logs to local building contractors to develop homes and businesses in Kimberley.

A group of keen, local volunteers recognized that here was potential for using the trails for recreation and gathered together as the Friends of Lois Creek to manage the trails for cross country skiing, snowshoeing biking and hiking. The initial attempts to identify and name the trails and to manage and enhance them ran into conflict with future proposed logging activities. The Friends of Lois Creek applied to the Ministry of Forests to have the trails designated as a Forest Service Recreation site and permission was granted. After several years a formal contractual agreement was granted and the Lois Creek trails became a provincially recognized trail system.

With the formation of the Kimberley Trail System, the Friends of Lois Creek was still able to operate as an independent volunteer group to oversee the maintenance and enhancement of Lois Creek but under the banner of KTS. A considerable amount of work has been accomplished in the making of trail signs, new maps, bridges, and a shelter at the Tea Spot at the far end of the trails. Ongoing maintenance ensures that the trails are free of deadfall, establishing tracks for cross-country skiing, thanks to the sterling efforts of Blake Rawson who tows a tracker around the considerable extent of the trail system, plus separate tracks for snowshoeing and installing dog litter boxes. The FOLC is indebted to the hard-working efforts of a small group of volunteers who put in countless hours to ensure the best possible experience for trail users. It is one of the trail systems that allows you to take your dog unleashed with you as long as the dog is not chasing local wildlife.

The building of the Tea Spot at the far end of the trails is a good destination point and was built by a class of students at the College of the Rockies under the direction of their instructor Mark Knudsgaard.

A unique activity during this past summer was the use of goats, supervised by Cailey Chase to clear the trails of invasive plants. Using the Legion Track as a base where they were penned the goats moved around the trails and adjoining areas to have breakfast, lunch or supper of the ever increasing growth of invasive weeds.

The trails are becoming clogged with new growth that needs to be cleared away to improve access to the trails and past efforts were very successful when the work was contracted out and clearing was undertaken on several sections of trail. It is proposed to continue this activity in the coming year if sufficient funding can be obtained.

Laura Duncan is directing a most worthwhile project call Mainstreams which will engage members of the community, especially school groups on learning about and becoming stewards of our watershed, a precious resource that we can little afford to do without.

Various events are held in Lois Creek, from the snowshoe races held after Christmas to help digest the quantities of turkey consumed for Christmas dinner. Various races on foot or mountain bike are featured during the Summer and Fall months, but the main attractions for locals are the XC trails, snowshoeing, hiking and biking purely for recreation.

New members are welcome to become Friends of Lois Creek and an opportunity to learn more about this valuable community resource will be possible by attending the Annual General Meeting on Tuesday November 20th at Lindsay Park School library at 7pm. Come along and find out how we can continue to improve the trails for the enjoyment of you and your friends. We look forward to seeing you there.