MAY 12, 2005
Spring has definitely arrived, so it's a good time to publish another newsletter. We've got good news to report regarding the trestles between Salmo and Troup, and we may become involved developing another new trail near Smallwood Creek. There's also been concern about proposed logging near the Sproule Creek Trail, and as well trees have been cut near the Ward's Ferry Trail and the Salmo-Troup Rail Trail. N.A.T.S. will soon be releasing a new web site, and we are planning a cleanup near Svoboda road this coming weekend.
Work began last week on the first of the three major trestles towards Troup from Svoboda Road. The old ties are being replaced, decking will be added, and guard rails will be installed. These trestles are presently closed, and cannot be used until the work is completed in 4-5 weeks. Tourism BC, the originator and organizer of the project, has requested that trail users respect the contractors and their equipment. A gate has been placed at Svoboda Road while the two very large rocks that usually block the trail have been moved out of the way.
While the yet to be named trail between Salmo and Troup hasn't received nearly as much attention as the Kettle Vally Railway trestles, Tourism BC's project will benefit both local residents and tourists, as it will preserve access and improve the safety of this nearby gentle scenic trail. As consultant Blair Baldwin informed us at our Annual General Meeting, Tourism BC was able to get major funding from the Softwood Industry Community Economic Adjustment Initiative for this trail plus other trails now owned by Tourism BC, if the province, regional districts, and communities also contributed. Work could not begin until the federal government approved an environmental assessment, and even though this was completed quickly, winter arrived and bids to rebuild the trestles came in over budget. The funding was set to expire March 31, but fortunately this was extended to allow work in better weather. Tourism BC also purchased lumber directly to reduce costs. The Ministry of Transportation originally requested bids for the project, and received 4 bids ranging from $450,000 to $640,000, but now it appears that Tourism BC is organizing the contractors. They now plan to place decks and railings on the 7 highest risk trestles.
SMALLWOOD CREEK TRAIL
The Nelson Cycling Club has asked N.A.T.S. to support the building of a 2.5km trail from the Smallwood Creek Forest Road to a viewpoint of Nelson, the Kootenay River, and the surrounding mountains. N.A.T.S. has provided a letter supporting N.C.C.'s application for Columbia Basin Trust funding. N.A.T.S. and N.C.C. were investigating the creation of a trail from Whitewater's Nordic ski trails to Hummingbird Pass, but BC Parks doesn't like having mountain bikes on the trail's route through West Arm Provincial Park.
N.A.T.S. has also applied for C.B.T. funding, to be able to reprint and distribute the free map of local trails that was originally funded by the City of Nelson. We are also looking for advertising to be able to keep this folding one page map free.
Local bicycle shops no longer have copies of "A Ticket to Ride", but the Nelson Cycling Club has been producing a new mountain biking trail guide in a booklet form. They are aiming to have it available on store shelves by June 1st. If you didn't know, the club also received a grant last fall from the RDCK for trail stewardship and to post a large trail map at Mountain Station.
N.A.T.S.' web site, www.nats.kics.bc.ca, can now also be accessed by www.natstrailmix.ca, and will soon contain updated maps, trail descriptions, and local information previously found on TrailMix.ca, which was developed by a former N.A.T.S. member, Tim Friesen. Tim has moved to Winnipeg, and donated the site to N.A.T.S. Unfortunately we lost the original domain name, which now points to an online casino. The new site will have less advertising and will focus more on Nelson Area trails.
SPROULE CREEK TRAIL
As you may have seen in the Nelson Daily News, an open house held by BC Timber Sales on April 21 at the Taghum Hall was well attended and turned into an impromptu forum. They've identified 3 patches of trees with pine beetles that they want to log for the trees' value, not because logging will stop the beetle. They'd also be logging other species, but they couldn't give the percentage of pine trees. With a new road in there, they also expect to log more in the next few years. They'd probably normally wait for the forest to mature longer, so they'd be picking infested areas first.
The Sproule Creek residents are looking for a way to keep a new logging road from disturbing the trail, and BC Timber Sales promised another meeting and an opportunity to submit written presentations. N.A.T.S. member Andrew Murray has written emails and a letter to the editor to publicise these logging plans, because only Sproule Creek residents were originally notified.
N.A.T.S. members Len Dunsford and Peter Wood recently worked on the Ward's Ferry Trail, and found that the trail near the Rover Creek Forest Road had been disturbed by logging. Part of the trail passes by a Ministry of Forest research forest, and they had to be create a new plot after a fire last year.
Although only a few trees have been cut near the BNR Trail above Bealby Point, a larger but lower profile logging operation has changed the landscape on the upper side of the trail, close to the two trestles between Cottonwood Lake and Mountain Station. Speaking of Cottonwood Lake, does anyone have a bridge that could link the trail to the parking lot?
NATS AGMThe feature speaker was Blair Baldwin, a consultant for Tourism B.C. Blair showed a Powerpoint presentation on the Spirit of 2010 Rails to Trails network. Blair drove from Kelowna, and is the co-ordinator for this Tourism B.C. initiative. As you may recall the Feds, Province, and RDCK are putting $4.2 million into the upgrading of four Rails to Trails projects across the province. Blair passionately answered questions and updated us as to what is happening on the Salmo-Troup portion of this trail system. The funds allocated are for trail improvements, including trestle repairs, access and signage.
The Nelson Area Trails Society's AGM was held on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2004 at Selkirk College's Rosemont Campus.
Please renew your membership for 2005. N.A.T.S. memberships expire June 30 every year, and members are needed to show that there is support for a valuable asset, the hiking and biking trails in the Nelson area. Membership is $10 for adults, $15 for families, and $50 for an organization, which includes a link and a description in the new web site's listings. Forms can be downloaded from this link:
One last note. A few members are meeting at Svoboda Road at 9:30 this Saturday until noon to clean up garbage, while the gate is open, and we can get a truck down. The area isn't that bad considering how much use it gets, but there are several larger items that are eyesores, just down from the parking lot. Donuts and refreshments will be provided.