December 10, 2012

December Walk n Talk sessions to explore South Canoe Trail upgrades and signs

December Walk n Talk sessions to explore South Canoe Trail upgrades and signs

One of the region’s most loved recreational trail systems is getting a much needed facelift. Work began last month to improve the South Canoe Trail System on the south east side of Salmon Arm. Two new trails, new trail signs, and improved access at the trailhead will address the growing challenges of safety on the lower trails. 

Open house walk’n’talk sessions have been scheduled for the next two Thursdays (Dec. 13 & 20) at 1 pm while the trail team is on site, and again this Sunday (Dec 16) at 1 pm. Anyone interested in finding out more about the upgrades are invited to meet at the trailhead parking area – snow or shine – for a stroll with Shuswap Trail Alliance field manager, Kevin Pattison. The walk’n’talk sessions will give people a chance to explore the upgrades underway on the lower South Canoe trails and discuss the new signage. 

The South Canoe trails are some of the most used in the region, and the most multi-used. It is also the western trailhead to the Larch Hills Traverse which links Salmon Arm and Sicamous via a 40 kilometer cross-country backcountry trail. A two year community consultation process facilitated through the Shuswap Trail Alliance led to a management plan for the existing South Canoe Trails that involved leadership from the City of Salmon Arm, Recreation Sites and Trails BC, the equestrian community, hikers, mountain bikers, ATV and motorcycle users, local residents, and the woodlot license holders. 

The South Canoe Trail Management plan was approved by Salmon Arm City Council last year and funds allocated this year to assist with the improvements. Much of the trail work to date has been done through hundreds of hours of volunteer time, including students from Shuswap Middle School and our local RAP Attack team; and in-kind support from local partners, including Skookum Cycle and Ski, the EQ Trail Association, Trailheads Cycle and Ski, and volunteer lunch sponsors like Tim Hortons. Over 450 volunteer hours were logged this season. The City funding will allow the Shuswap Trail Alliance to compliment all the volunteer work with a short-term paid work team. Work will continue into the spring. 

Future work in 2013 includes funding for new signage for the upper trails contributed by the Recreational Sites and Trails BC office. As well, planning with the City, the province, Secwepemc First Nations leadership, forestry tenure holders, the Salmon Arm Fish and Game Club, and local residents to decide on appropriate trail use south of the existing system is pending. Long range plans also identify the desire to work with BC Ministry of Transportation to transform the gravel pit next to the trail system into a fully developed trailhead staging area and park. Work on these plans will resume in the New Year.

All trail users are invited to provide feedback on the South Canoe Trails and any other trail throughout the Shuswap to trailreport@shuswaptrails.com. The same email can be used to report maintenance issues, log volunteer time, or send a request to be added to the Shuswap Trails contact list. For information on trailhead locations and trail details visit www.shuswaptrails.com

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Fostering a healthy, engaged community in the Shuswap Region – economic/environmental/social – through well designed, maintained, and promoted trails connecting people, culture, and landscape

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