New draft trail management plan for Kimberley ready for public comment

Public meeting set for May 30, Centennial Hall, 7 p.m.

Hikers going up the new Hoodoo View Trail at the south end of the Nature Park.

Hikers going up the new Hoodoo View Trail at the south end of the Nature Park.

A new, comprehensive management plan for trails in and around Kimberley is now in the final draft stage and ready to be presented to residents for comment.

This new plan encompasses more than just trails within City limits and is the result of over seven months of work, says Chris Ferguson of the Kimberley Nature Park Society.

“Although the city has put together trail plans in the past, these usually pertained to those found on city property, only,” Ferguson said. “For the last seven months, a multi-stakeholder group has been working on a contemporary Trails Management Plan that encompasses many areas well outside the city limits.”

Working with a consultant, hired through funds from the Provincial Government Recreation Sites and Trails program, the group came up with a plan that sets out the areas where trails exist, or might be developed, close to town; identifies the various trail management groups and other key stakeholders for these areas, lists the current trails and their status, and expresses broad guidelines for standards.

This does not mean that this stakeholder group will have management of particular trails, he said.

“It is important to understand that particular groups, such as the Kimberley Nature Park Society and the Kimberley Nordic Club, will maintain control of specifics of how they manage their trails. The draft plan opens the door to more communication, sharing of practices and coordination, where feasible, between the various groups.”

Community support and comment on the plan is important, the group believes, because the more buy-in from the public the plan gets, the more likely it is that values will be protected and interests balanced.

The plan addresses 15 specific trail areas in and around Kimberley; Bootleg; Mr. Toad; Campground; Forest Crowne; Levirs;  Lois Creek; Sullivan Hill; Northstar Mountain; Kimberley Nordic Club; Kimberley Nature Park; Horse Barn Valley Interpretive Forest; Mark Creek; The Hoodoos and Butte and Concentrator Hill.

The draft plan is available for view now at www.tourismkimberley.com/draftplan.   There will also be a public meeting seeking feedback on May 30 at Centennial Hall, 7 p.m.

Feedback can also be provided by e-mail: trailskimberley@gmail.com

“The trails management groups very much look forward to hearing your thoughts and any concerns about this general plan for trails around Kimberley,” Ferguson said. “The hope is that this document, with support from the public, will help lead the way into a future with even more sustainable, well supported and legal trails for locals and visitors alike to enjoy.”