Benches have been installed along the Okanagan Rail Trail along Kalamalka Lake near Coldstream thanks to a generous donation. (Contributed)

Benches have been installed along the Okanagan Rail Trail along Kalamalka Lake near Coldstream thanks to a generous donation. (Contributed)

Okanagan pioneer reconnected to rail through trail enhancements

Lake Country, Kelowna and North Okanagan sites get big boost

Uncle Harry would be pleased.

Harry Weatherill who, almost 100 years ago watched the Canadian National Railway construction, helped complete and enhance the Okanagan’s infamous rail trail.

It was Weatherill’s wish to provide funds for a recreational facility for members of the public and for senior citizens in the Okanagan Valley. The Okanagan pioneers nephews helped make that wish come true through a generous donation from the Edna, Stella and Harry Weatherill Foundation.

READ MORE: Okanagan family grants uncle’s last wish

The donation funded three interpretive sites on the trail:

  • Kelowna: (KM 40) Carney Pond observant deck
  • Lake Country: (KM 23) Ribbleworth Falls bridge
  • Regional District of North Okanagan: (KM 3.7) Kalamalka Lake benches

Guiding principles for the project were agreed upon by rail trail owner jurisdictions:

· Effectively use and improve the natural beauty of the trail.

· Simple and natural. Keep the feeling along the trail as ‘natural’ as possible with design and content.

· Engage/educate through design, art and stories.

· Durable, high quality, environmentally responsible design and construction.

· Engage the experts in determining what and how to interpret.

Site preparations began in spring 2019 with rough grading, installation of fencing and applications for required permits. Work on the interpretive sites finished in October 2020 with the installation of site furnishings.

“Cyclists, hikers, parents and caregivers with strollers, and dog walkers have already been enjoying the opportunity to take a break, enjoy the view and learn something new presented on the interpretive signage at the sites,” the District of Lake Country said.

Weatherill, a true Okanagan pioneer, was born in Kelowna in 1911 and later grew up in Vernon.

As a child, Harry watched the CN Railway being built. He recalled that the decision of the Canadian National Railway to bring a rail line into Kelowna was one of the major events of the early 1920s and, now his name is connected to the rail line once again.

READ MORE: $220K for Okanagan Rail Trail loo


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Trails

 

A viewing deck has been installed along the Okanagan Rail Trail in Kelowna at Carney Pond thanks to a generous donation. (Contributed)

A viewing deck has been installed along the Okanagan Rail Trail in Kelowna at Carney Pond thanks to a generous donation. (Contributed)

Interpretive sites along the Okanagan Rail Trail have come to fruition thans to the Edna Stella and Harry Weatherill Foundation. (Mel Farrell photo)

Interpretive sites along the Okanagan Rail Trail have come to fruition thans to the Edna Stella and Harry Weatherill Foundation. (Mel Farrell photo)

A bridge has been installed along the Okanagan Rail Trail at Ribbleworth Falls in Lake Country thanks to a generous donation. (Contributed)

A bridge has been installed along the Okanagan Rail Trail at Ribbleworth Falls in Lake Country thanks to a generous donation. (Contributed)