We recently rode our bicycles on the Columbia and Western (C & W) Rail Trail from Castlegar to Paulson and we were pleasantly surprised at the recreational improvements made since we first cycled it in 1998.
The trestles have decking and guard rails, the trail surface is mostly well-graded, and there are picnic shelters with excellent interpretation of the history of this area.
This is the most scenic section of the C & W with views up and down Arrow Lakes.
Even mid-week it was heavily used by other bicyclists as well as ATV’s and motorcyclists.
However, there was also some truck traffic, which proved to be dangerous on some of the very narrow sections of the Rail Trail.
Other motorized traffic was generally courteous, but we had to wait for exhaust fumes to clear out before entering some of the tunnels.
As bicycle riders we would prefer no motorized traffic on the Rail Trail, but I understand that there is a strong lobby to allow it.
We are even more opposed to a proposal to turn 64 kilometers of the Columbia and Western Rail Trail into an industrial logging road.
After all the money spent in recreational improvements and increasing popularity of a recreational trail system, more industrial traffic than already exists would destroy this section of the C&W/KVR Rail Trail.
In simple economics, we believe maintaining the Columbia and Western as a Rail Trail is far more sustainable in the long term than conversion into an industrial logging road.
More industrial development and clearcutting of the forests would destroy this high quality recreation corridor.
Ursula and Terry Lowrey