The Shuswap, British Columbia – “The work partners throughout the Shuswap have done to enhance tourism and grow outdoor recreational opportunities is remarkable,” said Shuswap MLA, Greg Kyllo, announcing a funding commitment of $98,061.43 to support new trail work in the region through the Shuswap Trail Alliance. It was a very welcome announcement on the heels of the recent Shuswap Trail Alliance AGM where an ambitious list of project targets was outlined for the coming year.
The grant comes as part of the BC Rural Dividend Program under the Ministry of Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations. The BCRD Program supports rural communities working collaboratively to improve their economic resilience. Enhancing tourism and recreation through well designed and managed trail systems is now recognized as an important element in growing rural economies.
“I particularly like that the Shuswap Trail Alliance supports so many communities throughout the Shuswap, from Chase to Malakwa, and Enderby to Seymour Arm,” said Kyllo. “The alliance is also engaged with First Nations communities in developing trails to raise the profile, culture and heritage, of the Secwepemc peoples.”
The 2017 Shuswap Trails Infrastructure Project will continue to grow and diversify regional tourism in the Shuswap, particularly into our traditional shoulder seasons, through the addition of six new four-season trails totaling 15 kilometers within our regional destination trail system for hiking, mountain biking, equestrian, and winter snowshoeing.
These include the Rubberhead Dickson mountain bike climb trail, the South Canoe Mo Bedda Mo Budda mountain bike trail, the South EQ Trail Loop Extension, the Larch Hills Traverse Top-O-the-Sic and Cedar Circuit trails, and the North Fork Wild Historic Pack Trail (Perry River Trail Big Tree Loop).
The Provincial investment leverages local funds raised through the Shuswap Trail Alliance’s annual fundraising program, commitments by regional partners, and volunteer in-kind time. “We targeted completion of currently approved but unfinished trail work within the region,” said Shuswap Trail Alliance Executive Director, Phil McIntre-Paul. “Each of these build on some of the region’s most visited destination trail networks.”
In addition to the grant supporting new trail construction, regional partners were delighted to receive news that a smaller grant was also successful supporting new trail planning throughout the region. “Planning support has always been a challenge,” said McIntyre-Paul. “Grants often favour building things, but we can only do that well with thoughtful and responsible planning.”
The smaller $9800 BCRDF grant targets support for planning upgrades to existing alpine trails in the East Shuswap, mountain bike trails at Rubberhead, regional connector trails within the South Shuswap, improved trail management around Skimikin Lake, and new trail projects in the West and North Shuswap with local trail stewards, communities, CSRD Parks, and BC Parks.
“This allows us to bring technical expertise together with local knowledge to consider truly sustainable and value-added additions to our growing destination trail network,” said McIntyre-Paul. “It also allows us to expand awareness of our commitment to work together through the new Shuswap Trails Roundtable toward a more accountable acknowledgement of our place within Secwepemc Nation Territory.” The Shuswap Trails Roundtable includes Secwepemc Nation leadership, municipal/regional governments, the province, trail stewardship organizations, industry, and community sectors.
For more information on the growing Shuswap Trails System, the Shuswap Trails Strategy and Roundtable, and the Shuswap Trail Alliance and its 2017 program, check out the recent AGM report posted at www.shuswaptrailalliance.com.