The Kimberley Trails Society, represented by GM Ryan McKenzie, visited Council this week to provide an update on the society’s doings this past year.
Trails under the aegis of the Kimberley Trails Society — some of which are partnerships with other organizations — are the Lois Creek Trails, Alki/Murphy/Pyramid Creek, Bootleg Recreation Site, Mr. Toad and Thunder Turkey, Campground Trails, Round the Mountain, Magic Line Trail, Levirs area, and Forest Crowne trails.
It all adds up to about 180 km of trails that the Society maintains and improves.
In addition to the boon to the economy the trail network brings by attracting recreation seekers, the Trails Society put over $150,000 directly into the economy in the last year, mostly paying a fairly large trail crew for work.
Large projects included the installation of an aluminum bridge in the Mathew Creek trails This will become part of the Trans Canada Trail and take six kilometres of what used to be road way out of the trail. Boardwalks were also built and several notable trails such as Shapeshifter and Thunder Turkey were rerouted.
The Society also undertook an inventory of all Kimberley’s trails, noting where future improvements could be made.
The biggest project on the horizon is Electrify the Mountains, which should see shovels in the ground next spring.
The project was announced in late March and is made possible due to an $851,422 grant from B.C.’s Tourism Dependent Community Fund, which the City applied for.
KTS will be supporting the building of projects and communicating trail project ideas with the stakeholders. They will be responsible for recommending trail building contractors, utilizing their connections in other towns with workers of this sort. Additionally they will handle all the trail standards and project planning as well as signage and maintenance.
The first phase of projects include a Kimberley-based accessible trail network, solar base camps and urban eBike charging stations, signage and education, which will come later in the project once it’s been built out, and the development of standards.
McKenzie reported that routes have been flagged and two very reputable contractors had already been hired.
Council congratulated the society on all its work, with Mayor Don McCormick saying they were doing an awesome job.