Cottonwood Lake to Ymir Bicycle TripThe Nelson Area Trails Society, in cooperation with the Nelson Cycling Club, is organized a bicycle trip from Cottonwood Lake to Ymir and back on August 26, using the rail-trail parallel to the Salmo River. It was an unofficial event to celebrate the new decks and railings that were constructed last year as part of a Tourism BC "Spirit of 2010 Trails" project. The trip should took about 2 hours each way, with a stop in Ymir for lunch beside the Koots Roots Culture Festival. The trail's gentle grade and the improvements to the trestles make the trip suitable for all ages.This historic railway corridor was originally built as the Nelson and Fort Sheppard Railway in 1893. It was operated and then owned by the Great Northern Railway, which became the Burlington Northern Railway in 1970. By the time NATS and the people of Nelson had persuaded the Ministry of Transportation to purchase the abandoned section from Salmo to Troup Junction, the BNR had become the Burlington Northern Santa Fe. The Regional District of Central Kootenay provided some of the funding for the trail's recent upgrades, and has had a lease to operate the trail as a Regional Park since January 1st of this year. The trail is now a great asset for the Nelson area.
Smallwood Creek Lookout Hike
The Nelson Area Trails Society organized a hike that was held on Saturday, July 29th, to publicize Nelson's newest hiking and mountain biking trail. A year ago, NATS supported the Nelson Cycling Club with their proposal to build a trail to a spectacular lookout that is accessed from the Smallwood Creek and Garrity Creek Forest Service Roads. The trail was actually built in one day by 37 Forest Service Firefighters from the Valhalla and Castlegar Unit Crews. From the lookout, the trail continues with a steep descent down to Smallwood Creek FSR, near the junction with Garrity Creek FSR.
To get to the upper trail head, drive west from Nelson on Highway 3A and turn right at Beasley Road. At the next junction go up Queen Victoria Road for 1km. At this switchback, the road uphill to the left narrows and turns into the Smallwood Creek FSR, which may have active logging. After another 2km, the Garrity Creek FSR is well marked, and should be followed for about 3km, to the de-activated Garrity Connector Road. Take this road for 0.7km to just past the 5km marker. The trail is not yet marked, but is visible on the right side of the road.
The trail to the viewpoint is an easy 45 minute hike, where you'll find a bench and views along the Kootenay River from Nelson to Glade, so bring binoculars and a camera. The rest of the hike to the bottom takes just over half an hour. During the July 29th hike, the people who took this route were picked up at the junction by those who returned to the vehicles at the upper trail head.
BNR Trail ClosureThe City of Nelson has completed the installation of a water main along an 800 meter section of the trail commonly known as the BNR trail, south of Svoboda Road. This section of trail was closed for about 1 month starting in July. The trail has been widened and its surface is now smooth and compacted. The surface above the former gravel pit was previously very rocky.
In their advertising of this closure, the City has been calling the trail "the Great Northern Rail Trail". We have not heard if this name has been agreed upon by the RDCK, Tourism BC, or the Ministry of Transportation, who are all involved with this trail now. The RDCK now has a licence of occupation to operate the trail as a regional park, and they have used the name Burlington Northern Santa Fe Recreation Trail. They are now responsible for signage, but the only sign they've posted is at Apex, which says, "No Motorized Use, Troup Junction (Nelson) to Hall Creek". Meanwhile, Tourism BC, which had the trail's trestles upgraded in 2005, has a new description of the trail on their hellobc website, with their label, the Salmo-Troup Rail Trail. If you have any comments or suggestions, please email us.