2018 year may go down at the year of the trail.
The Ribbons of Green Trails Society are hailing a network of trails that came online this year.
The much-anticipated Okanagan Rail Trail officially opened, several other major trail routes were completed, or are near completion, and land for a new future rail trail route was acquired.
Only seven more kilometres of the Rail Trail have to be completed, and by next year, a continuous 50-km trail could connect Coldstream to downtown Kelowna is possible.
North of the rail trail, the Kalamalka Lake Road multi-use path now completes the connection between Coldstream and Polson Park in Vernon.
The Regional District of North Okanagan and Columbia Shuswap Regional District completed the purchase of the CP Rail Corridor between Armstrong and Sicamous early in 2018.
The nearly 50-km trail, along with the Okanagan Rail Trail and Kettle Valley Rail Trail will eventually be part of a route connecting Sicamous to Osoyoos.
Through a partnership including the Splatsin First Nation, regional, local and provincial governments, along with non-government organizations, construction of the northern rail trail will begin in 2019 and could be complete by 2023.
To join the Okanagan Rail Trail with the Armstrong to Sicamous rail trail, a 25-km connecting route is required. â€¨Next year, the City of Vernon will complete the final short link along 30th Street of the 29th/30th St. multi-use path, a north-south route that bisects the City Centre and connects Polson Park with Village Green Mall. â€¨The route through Polson Park will be improved with paving and lighting. â€¨A new initiative will see construction of a multi-use path on 48th Ave. from the Village Green Mall to Highway 97. This will connect the 29th/30th Street path to hotels and other services on Anderson way. â€¨A northern extension north of Highway 97 to Armstrong is in planning stages.
Gaps in the Grey Canal trail encircling Greater Vernon have been filled this year through acquisition and/or construction. Of the approximately 45 km of Grey Canal Trail within Greater Vernon, roughly 25 km are now open.
Several other trails have also been completed this year, including the Kal-Crystal Waters Trail above the Okanagan Rail Trail, and work is proceeding for trail signage and mapping.