The Trail of the Okanagans project is intended to connect communities throughout the region. (Graphic submitted)

The Trail of the Okanagans project is intended to connect communities throughout the region. (Graphic submitted)

Multi-use trail proposed for Vaseaux Lake area

Proposed trail would be part of Trail of the Okanagans project

A multi-use trail has been proposed for the Vaseaux Lake area as part of a longer regional network.

The Trail of the Okanagans Society has met with officials from Recreation Sites and Trails B.C. and the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, along with MLA Roly Russell and Osoyoos Coun. Myers Bennett last week as part of the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference.

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The topic was the potential for a 6.5-kilometre section of the existing Kettle Valley Railway rail bed on the western side of Vaseux Lake to be converted to a multi-use trail. This section would deliver a key part of a 270-km multi-use trail envisioned by the Trail of the Okanagans to connect all communities between Sicamous and Osoyoos.

A 2019 environmental review of the area commissioned by Recreation Sites and Trails B.C. determined that the existing rail bed adjacent to Vaseux Lake can be used as a multi-use trail as long as the habitat on either side is protected with mitigation efforts identified in the report.

The attendees committed to work together to determine a path forward to prepare a park plan that will detail the construction work, mitigation measures and consultation required with follow-up meetings set for later this fall.

“This is a very exciting development and one that has been a long time in the making,” said Janice Liebe, president of the Trail of the Okanagans Society. ”It has taken considerable effort on the part of government and volunteer groups over the last decade to get to this point.”

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