(Here's one of the founding concepts that got the region motivated to work together. It's ambitious, but little by little the connections are being made) ... to create an internationally recognized land and marine trail system that provides an experience comparable to the Appalachian Trail in the United States or the Bruce Trail in Ontario. Characterized as an “Appalachian style” network of cross-country hiking, biking, ski, snowshoe, and equestrian trail routes – overnight facilities are envisioned that link existing accommodations, bed and breakfast operations, campgrounds, and resorts with a series of discrete backcountry wilderness cabins – creating opportunities for a point-to-point (or hut-to-hut) style outdoor travel experience immersed in the natural landscape of the Shuswap.
In November 2004, regional stakeholders in the Shuswap met to consider a proposal by local trail advocates envisioning the creation of an internationally recognized natural trail and waterway network promoting environmental stewardship, sustainable economics, and a reputation for healthy living and recreation.
Catalysts for action included results from the 2002 Shuswap Tourism Opportunity Strategy, Columbia Shuswap Regional District Parks and Trail planning underway throughout the region, an ambitious proposal put forward by the Adventure Okanagan Cooperative to link the Okanagan Shuswap valley under a single extended trail route brand (the 5 Rings Trail), and new provincial emphasis on healthy communities, tourism enhancement, and preparation for the 2010 Olympics.
A steering advisory was formed including representation from the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, Little Shuswap Indian Band, the Switzmalph Cultural Society, the City of Salmon Arm, the District of Sicamous, Community Futures Development Corporation, Salmon Arm Economic Development Society, Sicamous and District Chamber of Commerce, Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce, Shuswap Tourism and Economic Development, the Larch Hills Nordic Society, Shuswap Outdoors, Shuswap Naturalists, Salmon Arm Greenways, BC Backcountry Horsemen, the Shuswap Mountain Bike community, business, and accommodation operators.
The Shuswap Hut and Trail Alliance was formally incorporated as a legal non-profit society in November 2005 out of a year long study to examine the viability of the vision, and consider how communities, organizations and governing bodies might work collaboratively toward a linked system of natural trail, hut-to-hut, and waterway routes for walking, hiking, mountain biking, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, horseback riding, and paddling throughout the Shuswap.
The full Shuswap Trail Strategy, first presented in November 2006, proposed an ambitious 5-year development strategy that would link existing trail plans throughout the Shuswap watershed into a unified message of active communities, ecological commitment, and welcome. (SHTA, 2006) Through the Shuswap Trail Alliance, community partners – First nations, municipalities, the regional district, recreational clubs, environmental groups, businesses, industry, and community members – were invited to come together and coordinate their efforts toward the creation of trails and greenways throughout the region.
Three and a half years later, the Shuswap Trail Alliance had evolved into a strategic meeting point for leadership of regional trail development and management. Milestones included:
The Shuswap Trail Strategy is a regional success story. Support continues to grow. New funding investment to conduct planning and organizational management of the project is now essential for its long-term viability.
For a copy of the most recent Shuswap Trails Background Brief click here
Regional partners throughout the Shuswap have been working hard to develop the first ever multi-user (motorized and non-motorized) trail strategy for the region that includes appropriate acknowledgement of Secwepemc Nation territory, accountable protocols for planning and approvals, a focus on ecology and access management priorities, and a commitment to work together. The Shuswap Regional Trails Strategy and Roundtable is administered by the Shuswap Trail Alliance on behalf of the regional partners, and provides core direction for the Shuswap Trail Alliance Annual Work Plan. For the full strategy, mapping, reports, updates, and work plan click here.
Fostering a healthy, engaged community in the Shuswap Region – economic/environmental/social – through well designed, maintained, and promoted trails connecting people, culture, and landscape