June 4, 2011

New trail above Scotch Creek invites deeper appreciation

New trail above Scotch Creek invites deeper appreciation

The Shuswap, British Columbia – “It’s a true wonder of the Shuswap,” says North Shuswap regional director, Denis Delisle. “It brings a vista not as easily accessed anywhere else – a good place to take friends and family to impress them.” He’s speaking of the region’s newest hiking trail high above Scotch Creek to a spectacular lookout over the lake.

The Scotch Creek Lookout Trail is having its grand opening on Sunday, June 26. The Area F Parks Commission and the Shuswap Trail Alliance will host the opening at 1:30 pm at the trailhead parking area (or meet to carpool from Rose Clifford Park in Scotch Creek at 1:00 pm). Phil McIntyre-Paul will emcee and Denis Deslisle will cut the ribbon followed by a hike down the new trail. Everyone is welcome at this community event. For more information, contact Darren Gridley-Haack at 250-832-8194.

The Shuswap Trail Alliance partnered with CSRD Parks who invested $30,000 to construct the first phase of the beautiful trail which begins just off the Hlina logging road accessed from Leopold Road just east of Scotch Creek. The four kilometre walk guides hikers through a mixture of new growth deciduous and old growth Douglas fir forest to a spectacular lookout over the south arm of Shuswap Lake.

“It has a quietness, a hush as the breeze plays with the white twisted stalk bringing a re-freshness to the soul,” says Denis Deslisle, revealing a poetical side inspired by the natural beauty of the area. CSRD Director Deslisle was part of a community group of North Shuswap residents who first identified the area as an ideal location for a trail several years ago.

Since that first discussion, the Shuswap Trail Alliance and the Area F Parks Commission have worked to realize the first official major trail to be completed under the Area F Parks Plan. The effort was made possible through a combination of CSRD Parks funding, volunteer, in-kind, Provincial Recreational Sites and Trails, Ministry of Forests and Range, and Shuswap Trail Alliance support. A First Nations archeological review of the site was conducted by leadership from the Little Shuswap Band and the partner bands of the Shuswap Lakes Division.

“The trail really gave us a chance to understand a whole new process for working with the Shuswap First Nation,” says Trail Alliance coordinator, Phil McIntyre-Paul, sharing how local Band leadership identified the need for trail plans to evolve out of consultation. “Trails need to respect First Nations traditions and values, and they need to be ecologically sustainable,” Phil says. “The days of just chopping in a trail without consulting with anyone are gone. There’s a new commitment to work together, to design trails carefully, to ensure we invest in appropriately authorized and cared for greenways.”

The trail was also designed under guidance from local range license holder, Roger Zinck, and provincial agrologist, Harold Heatherington. “Our appreciation for the impact recreational access in the backcountry can have on range licenses also grew,” Phil says. The location of the trailhead parking, installation of drift fences, and a new cattle guard is very specific in its attempt to reduce the damage vehicles have on the grassy forage found along roadsides and old logging landings. “This is so important for ranchers. Please take extra care to respect their cattle and livelihood,” he adds.

A longer six kilometer circle extension to the lookout trail has been brushed and blazed ready for future work. It is navigable by hikers comfortable with off trail wilderness travel. The Shuswap Trail Alliance hopes to work with the Area F Parks Commission to complete the trail, and to develop a local trail stewardship group to assist in environmental monitor and maintenance of the trail. For more information or to volunteer, call 250-832-0102.

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For further background on this release, please contact:

Phil McIntyre-Paul (Project Coordinator)
for the Shuswap Trail Alliance
250-804-1964
phil@shuswaptrails.com

Darren Gridley-Haack (Parks Officer)
Columbia Shuswap Regional District
250-832-8194
dgridleyhaack@csrd.bc.ca
 

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