. . . Recycling Our Routes . . .  


The Nelson Area Trails Society (NATS) was formed in January of 1998 in response to a public interest in acquiring recreational trails in and around the area of Nelson. NATS has played a central role in the creation of the Ward's Ferry Trail and the Nelson Salmo Great Northern Trail. Our focus is now moving towards the stewardship of these trails and other trails in the Nelson area.

Recent News  (Updated Jan. 22, 2008)

Nelson Area Trails Society Annual General Meeting

The Nelson Area Trails Society would like to welcome everyone to find out more about Recreation Trails Planning in the Kootenay Boundary District at the NATS AGM.  As well as a presentation by Dan Reibin of the Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts, there will be discussion of the Great Northern Trail Open Houses and the Ward's Ferry Trail.

On Tuesday, January 29, at 7:00pm, come to the Rosemont Campus of Selkirk College, Room 117, and celebrate the 10th birthday of the Nelson Area Trails Society.

RDCK Open Houses

Come and share your ideas, comments and concerns at one of three public open houses being held by the Regional District of Central Kootenay.

6:30-8:30 pm, Tuesday January 29th
Salmo & District Royal Canadian Legion Branch 217

6:30-8:30 pm, Wednesday January 30th
Ymir Community Hall

6:30-8:30 pm, Thursday January 31st
Nelson, New Grand Hotel Banquet Room

For more information contact:
Valhalla Trails Planning Consultant, Danica Rice at 250.746.4819 and/or Joe Chirico, RDCK at Toll-Free: 1.800.268.7325 or view

New Trail Brochure Published

NATS has received funding from the RDCK to print another batch of map brochures featuring the trails in the Nelson Area.  They are free for tourists and residents.  If you purchase a membership we will send one to you.

The map of the Nelson Area can also be found by clicking here (756KB).

Older News

April 2004 Newsletter

November 2004 Newsletter

May 2005 Newsletter

November 2005 Newsletter

March 2006 News

August 2006 News

November 2006 News


Trails Benefit Communities:



All members will receive regular updates of NATS activities, an invitation to the NATS annual general meeting, and will have voting privileges.

Please go to this page for a printable membership form.

For more information, please
email us.


NATS' Goals

For its initial goal, NATS undertook the project of securing the Burlington Northern Sante Fe Rail corridor from Salmo through Nelson to Troup Junction. This section of rail line was undergoing the "abandonment process". With its relatively low grades, this railway corridor offers exciting potential for "multi-use" trail development. With its historic trestles and spectacular scenery, the trail offers this region access to a rapidly expanding nature tourism market, as well as providing a recreational legacy for generations to come.  (NATS Proposal to Columbia Basin Trust)  

On Feb.21, 2004, the Regional District of Central Kootenay passed 9 resolutions regarding the "Burlington Northern Santa Fe Recreation Trail Management Plan". NATS intends to supply input to the RDCK and pursue stewardship of the non-motorized section of the trail from Troup Junction to Hall Siding.  The Trail was mentioned numerous times in the RDCK meeting minutes from May 15, 2004.  


A Few Facts About the BNSF Railway  

The Burlington Northern Sante Fe Rail Line between Salmo and Troup Junction was built as the Nelson and Fort Sheppard Railway by the American railway developer, Daniel Corbin in 1893. Apart from providing access to the mining towns of the Kootenays, this rail line ferried passengers between Spokane and Nelson. By the 1940s passenger service was withdrawn and the rail line mostly carried wood products for the rest of its active service up until 1989. A good summary of the railway's history is available at: Vanishing B.C. (Railway station at Salmo). A more detailed history is at: King Coal (Kootenay Smelters).  

However traffic continues on the rail line in the form of wildlife. For half of its length this rail corridor parallels the Salmo River, presenting views of secluded canyons and an "unmanaged" Black Cottonwood riparian area. This area boasts populations of elk, moose, deer, grizzly, black bear, cougar, coyote, and beaver as well as a wide assortment of bird species.  

The highest elevation on this rail corridor measures 900 meters at Apex. Yet the grade is almost imperceptible - descending at an average of 2.5% from Apex to Troup Junction. The northern sections of this rail corridor are dotted with several spectacular trestle bridges. For the many people who have ventured along this corridor the value of "recycling this route" as a trail is unquestionable.

The corridor is set to become a part of the Trans Canada Trail, and the Regional District of Central Kootenay is now managing it as the Great Northern Trail, with this logo and pictures from their web site:




The Beavers' Lake Apex

Burlington Northern Trestle in Winter

Ward's Ferry Opening Hike Pictures


Google Map's Satellite View of Nelson

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Trail Map

Ward's Ferry Trail Map

Lake Apex Detour Trail

Cycling the Kettle Valley Railway Map


Great Northern's Ymir Station

Construction Crew for the Nelson and Fort Sheppard

Spokane Railway Train at 5 Mile Point (Troup)

SS Nelson at 5 Mile Point

1955 Great Northern System Map

Great Northern 7th Subdivision Timetable

Spokane Falls and Northern Railway Engine #3

Bird's Eye View of Early Nelson

Captain James W. Troup

Capt. J.W. Troup's Career

Our Thanks, for being our local web host

Kootenay Internet Communications Society (KICS)

Trail Groups

Misc. Links Adventures from the Doghouse Pictures from July, 1997 Mary Sanseverino's Biking in BC David Beringer's BN Trail meeting report City of Nelson info and history

Nelson Area Calendars of Events and Announcements Free 15 word newspaper listings Travel portal for Bearcave Web Services From the Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce Nelson's Community Website Award-winning weekly shopper