Local trail added to Kootenay Columbia system

The Kootenay Columbia Trails Society (KCTS) has been a busy group over the summer.

The Kootenay Columbia Trails Society (KCTS) has been a busy group over the summer.

Since the snow began to melt, two crews have been working on local trails; first clearing winter debris and then moving on to routine maintenance.

But the biggest news might be that another trail has been incorporated behind the hospital and J.L. Crowe high school, and it needs a name.

According to Isaac Saban, president of KCTS, the society worked with Trail resident Marc Desrosiers to incorporate the trail he had been working on into the KCTS network.

“It’s been a long-time goal to diversify the geographic footprint of the trails from where they were originally concentrated around Rossland to more trails elsewhere,” Saban explained. Currently, there is a trail in Fruitvale, two in Montrose and now three in Trail.

Desrosiers used the original trail as a kid and later for hunting purposes as an adult. About six years ago he went back to discover it had all but disappeared, so he began clearing it for hiking purposes and things have gone from there.

“Every weekend I’d go up or after work and start clearing some more and there would be people using it so I thought I might as well keep going and I ended up cutting the whole thing open again,” he said.

He approached the KCTS more than a year ago to see if they would include the trail in their network to get it on the map for locals and have been working together since.

The three-and-a-half kilometre route begins about half way up the Miral Heights trail, loops around to the Sunningdale viewpoint and back to Miral Heights. Several other minor trails also branch off the new addition.

The trail itself is not new, but KCTS has been upgrading it. Besides going up to the Sunningdale viewpoint and flags, it also continues along to two swamps in the area.

The second half of the loop is still being completed, but Stewart Spooner, trails manager, said it’s completely usable, if a little rough. Once finished, formal signage will be placed at the new trailhead by the end of September.

The goal is to make the trail as multi-use as possible, for intermediate mountain bikers and hikers of all abilities.

Columbia Basin Trust provided $15,000 through a community grant and KCTS provided $5,000. To finish the trail, they’re applying for another $10,000 from an undisclosed funder.

The Upper Monticola trail in the Blackjack Biathalon area has also been completed.

Another announcement at the society’s meeting last week was that funding had been received from the provincial government, Columbia Basin Trust and Tourism Rossland to undertake a study about the economic impacts of the trails in the area.

“It’s very useful when we go to funders and say, ‘this is the value we’re providing’ — being able to actually quantify the number of actual users, when we want to take on new projects and are looking for capital funding it makes it a lot easier to go to local government,” Saban said. Results from the study will be available in the fall.

Looking ahead, KCTS would like to introduce a long intermediate trail in the near future.

To suggest a name for the new trail behind the hospital, Saban encourages the public to send submissions to information@kcts.ca.