The rafting season is nearing, and those involved in the industry, particularly the Kicking Horse River Outfitters Association, are planning a rally to show just how important the river is on the last day of April.
The Save the Lower Canyon Rally will consist of rafters, kayakers, and whoever else wants to join, floating down the Kicking Horse River through Golden on April 30. It is a sight you won’t see anymore if a solution cannot be found to keep access open to the Lower Canyon.
Response to the community’s concern has been considerable, with all three levels of government providing resources to ensure a quick resolution to this critical issue.
“We’ve been pleased with the assistance that we have received from representatives of Transport Canada and the Canadian Transportation Agency, as well as support and resources from government staff at the provincial level,” said Golden’s Mayor, Ron Oszust.
“Concrete proposals for immediate short-term solutions have been developed by the rafting companies and local government to ensure that the access to the Lower Canyon of the Kicking Horse River will be guaranteed for the start of the rafting season on the May long weekend. It’s up to CP Rail to implement a solution, and put this issue to rest.”
Norm Macdonald, MLA for Columbia River Revelstoke, who has been working directly with Minister Shirley Bond of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training and Minister Todd Stone of Transportation and Infrastructure, also expresses appreciation to the province for their commitment to finding a resolution.
“Both Minister Bond and Minister Stone were immediately interested in getting involved with this issue,” said Macdonald. “They have provided considerable staff time towards working with the community to find a quick solution, and working directly with CP Rail to ensure that this rafting season is not lost.
“The groundswell of support in our community for ensuring access to the Lower Canyon of the Kicking Horse River has been overwhelming. I have to agree with Mayor Oszust when he says that it is clear that the community will not stand for a continued closure. The resolve of citizens is absolutely firm; we must retain access to this important community asset.”
“The whole community is coming together for this event,” said Glacier Raft owner Carmen Narancsik. “While this is being organized by river users as a rally of protest and support, we are very optimistic that a solution will be found before April 30th, and this event can be a community celebration of our success in retaining access to the Lower Canyon. We are asking the public to keep up the pressure on CP Rail to find a resolution.”
The float will be followed up by a gathering in Spirit Square, complete with a barbecue hosted by the Rotary Club of Golden. The entire community is also invited to show their support by walking along with the rafters beside the river.
Rafters, kayakers, SUPers and canoers will start the float from the campground beach at 11 a.m. on Apr. 30. The barbecue, along with music, info booths and vendors in Spirit Square will be from noon to 3 p.m.