The Province is proposing to remove the Recreational Trail designation for the Columbia and Western portion of the Trans Canada Trail (Great Trail) between Christina Lake and Castlegar and to re-designate it for motorized use.
Once the “Trail” designation is removed, the likelihood is that this asset that was gifted to the Province by the Trans Canada Trail foundation will be forever lost as a recreational trail and as the only suitable minimum gradient off highway route for a cycling route across this part of BC.
Our publicly owned recreational Rail Trails are at risk. Please take a minute to tell the government how you feel about this: If you have an opinion on this proposal (negative I hope), please send an email by Aug 26, 2019 to Mr. John Hawkings, Director of Rec Sites and Trails before August 26, 2019.
Detail: The government is proposing to cancel the recreation trail designation for a 67km section of the Columbia and Western Rail Trail and turn it into a road tenure. This is a precedent threatening rails trails and The Great Trail of Canada. “Turning this rail trail into a road is a real step backward for the many B.C. residents who enjoy cycling, walking and rolling for recreation”, said Ciel Sander, Board President of the Trails Society of BC.
The Columbia and Western Rail Trail runs between Castlegar and Midway, BC and was given to the Province by Trans Canada Trail for non-motorized use in 2004. Some sections of the trail have been overrun with motorized vehicles destroying the surface and making it difficult and dangerous to cycle and walk on. People have been gaining off road vehicle (ORV) access to these rail trails in addition to driving trucks and cars, displacing active trail users these rail trails were established for.
Trails Society of BC has been urging Recreation Sites and Trails BC to properly manage the Provincial rail trails. If the KVR Rail Trail, which includes the Columbia and Western Rail Trail, between Hope and Castlegar were properly funded and managed as a linear greenway or as a linear Provincial Park, we could have an epic low carbon recreational rail trail in south central British Columbia. The recently released Report on the Budget 2020 Consultation highlighted concerns of several organizations regarding non-motorized trails and recommended to “increase operational funding for BC Parks and Recreation Sites and Trails BC to support staffing, monitoring and enforcement, maintenance, public safety, and recreational infrastructure.”
Already, residents are having difficulty finding high quality cycling trails in B.C. They instead are often flying to Europe, the States or other provinces for their cycling holidays. This both significantly deprives smaller B.C. communities of badly needed economic activity (and increases their GHG emissions). The success of the Myra Canyon section of the trail demonstrates the desire for recreational trails and shows how good trail management brings pleasure to residents and visitors.
Turning this rail trail into a public road sets a sad precedent for rail trails in BC. It means increased motor vehicle use, more forestry permits. Once a section of our publicly owned rail trail is turned into a road, there is no going back. With the BC Trails Strategy currently being updated and the potential for more funding, this is not the proper time to even consider downgrading a rail trail to a dusty industrial road.
Your voice is needed!
Please take a minute and send an email message with subject line “Save our Rail Trails: CWRT Change in Administration”
• John Hawkings, Director of Recreation Sites and Trails BC firstname.lastname@example.org
• The Honourable John Horgan email@example.com
• Your local MLA: https://www.leg.bc.ca/learn-
• Speaker of the House: Speaker@leg.bc.ca
• Here’s a quick copy/paste for those most involved (add your local MLA)
John Hawkings <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Premier John Horgan <john.horgan.MLA@leg.bc.ca>, Darryl Plecas <Speaker@leg.bc.ca>, Doug Donaldson <doug.donaldson.MLA@leg.bc.ca>, Mike Farnworth <mike.farnworth.MLA@leg.bc.ca>, Scott Fraser <scott.fraser.MLA@leg.bc.ca>, Rick Glumac <rick.glumac.MLA@leg.bc.ca>, Carole James <carole.james.MLA@leg.bc.ca>, George Heyman <george.heyman.MLA@leg.bc.ca>, Lisa Beare <lisa.beare.MLA@leg.bc.ca>, Adrian Dix <adrian.dix.MLA@leg.bc.ca>, Claire Trevena <claire.trevena.MLA@leg.bc.ca>, Harry Bains <harry.bains.MLA@leg.bc.ca>, Bruce Ralston <bruce.ralston.MLA@leg.bc.ca>, Michelle Mungall <michelle.mungall.MLA@leg.bc.ca>, David Eby <david.eby.MLA@leg.bc.ca>
What you might consider saying:
1.) I do not want to see the Columbia and Western Rail Trail de-listed as a Recreation Trail and turned into a roadway.
2.) Motorized vehicles are incompatible with active trail users who want a motor vehicle free quality experience on rail trails
3) I want a proper public engagement and for an extended public consultation period
4) Tell how you want to use rail trails and what you would like to see
• Sample of Letter Writing guidelines: http://nprg.ca/wp-
Imagine … a linear park all across BC ! The Myra Trestles are a great example of well-run trails. If you build it (and maintain it) — we will enjoy it! Let’s get the whole trail in shape so families and friends can enjoy a safe place to cycle, walk and run together.
Map credit: Dan & Sandra Langford, Cycling the Kettle Valley