The network of walking and biking trails above Miral Heights and East Trail has seen growing use since it’s inception in 2011 and the addition of a new section above Sunningdale last year expanded the available tracks considerably.
The Kootenay Columbia Trails Society (KCTS), the local organization responsible for the planning, building, and maintenance of the extensive system, has plans to extend the existing section from Miral Heights to eventually join up with the Sunningdale trail.
The combined Miral Heights/Bluff trail currently runs six kilometres across the eastern side of the Columbia River Valley with the expectation that the extension to the Sunningdale trail will eventually total almost nine km in total.
KCTS trails manager, Stewart Spooner is hoping the extension will be completed by the end of October.
“I’m a bit of an evangelist when it comes to trails,” said Spooner. “It’s a healthy, fun, and affordable form of recreation. Going out and exploring the trails is way cheaper than most other community’s forms of recreation.”
Although many of the trails around Rossland are more challenging and require a relatively high fitness level to hike and high degree of skill to bike, the trails lower in the valley around Trail are more moderate, and are rated easy or intermediate.
The Miral Heights trail, which begins at the top of the subdivision in East Trail, currently has the trail works crew improving drainage in areas and shoring up the trail bed.
“We’re all riders so we know what needs to be the done to keep the trails in shape,” said KCTS crew member, Cam Spooner. “Most of the time water is the biggest problem.”
In an area like the West Kootenay, that can see considerable spring runoff and early rainfall, the manager and crew of KCTS has to be able to recognize the natural course of water flow on the mountain sides and re-direct it when possible and bridge it when it can’t be altered.
In addition to the extensions planned for the network in the Trail area, work is also planned to expand trails in Montrose and Fruitvale as well.
“I’m personally delighted, this has been a passion of mine forever and it’s great to see this coming to fruition in Trail,” said KCTS director, Hal Harrison.
“They’ve had the trails in Rossland for years and I think some of us envied them for it. It’s great that we’re getting this opportunity to develop more down here and in Montrose.”
To become a member of the KCTS and for maps of much of the 150 kilometres of maintained trails in our area go to www.rosslandtrails.ca