Nakusp Trail Society prepares for the 2015 hiking season

The Nakusp and Area Trail Society has been hard at work taking advantage of the favourable weather.

  • May. 27, 2015 12:00 p.m.

RYAN WILLMAN

Arrow Lakes News

The Nakusp and Area Trail Society has been hard at work taking advantage of the favorable weather to complete a number of trail maintenance projects in preparation for the upcoming hiking season. Wulf Mense, vice chair for the society and head of the maintenance crew works with volunteers to clean and brush all eight of the trails the society has accepted responsibility for so they are ready for use by the public.

“We work on these trails building bridges and clearing blow-downs,” Mense commented,  “and there is always something that comes up; they require constant maintenance throughout the year.”

The society is also working above and beyond their standard maintenance schedule in cooperation with the Ministry of Forests and local contractors to perform some significant improvements to the rail bed trail starting from the viewpoint overlooking Nakusp and ending at the top of Summit Lake.

“This is the section that the society has taken on stewardship of,” explains Mense. “The rail bed trail is a multi-use trail that is used by everybody, including ATV users and horses. The ATV club, which is also part of our society, came out and helped with the brushing this year and with the extra bodies, we were able to get a lot of work done.”

Due to the variety of use, the rail bed trail has suffered wear and tear and is developing issues with water pooling in the ruts and divots. The society is working to initiate a plan to resurface the trail and restore the tread. Barb Chwachka, a member of the society’s board of directors, is also looking into developing an education program for the high school and plans to increase signage along the trail that would seek to instruct all users about the etiquette required of a multi-use trail.

“It’s really important that we get that out to the community to make this work and ensure that everyone is respectful. Signage and talks at the school will help promote shared and respectful use,” Chwachka said.

The Trail Society is also excited to announce the approval of a proposal to renovate the Saddle Mountain lookout. Money from the Ministry of Forests has been made available and the Trail Society has employed a local carpenter to renovate the lookout and improve the building’s appearance and upgrade its safety.

“We get lots of support from the government and the community to make these projects happen, but we are not seeing the same support from our local government,” Chwachka commented. The Trail Society is committed to promoting adventure tourism and providing active and healthy living opportunities for residents and tourists, “but I don’t think our local government recognizes the importance of adventure tourism and that there is a need for these trails,” Chwachka explained. “I am not laying any blame, but our volunteers don’t feel supported.”

The Nakusp Trail Society plans to continue with programs that have been popular with tourists and residents and will be finalizing their group hiking schedule on their website in the next few days. They are also excited to announce the return of the popular full moon paddles and have worked in partnership with the Nakusp Chamber of Commerce to produce an updated trail map for hikers.

The map is set for release this summer and a keen eye will notice that the previously unnamed cross-country trail that runs parallel along the hot springs road has received the unofficial moniker, the Peter Roulston Trail.

“We help maintain that stretch, but it is not officially our trail,” Chwachka explained, “but we were approached by a group in Creston Bay requesting that we honor the late Peter Roulston by naming that trail after him.” Roulston was a resident of Nakusp and a huge advocate of the trail system performing independent maintenance and producing maps for interested hikers.

“He was a great outdoorsman and I think it is a good fit to give his name to that trial,” Mense added.

 

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