From right, Bob Ritchie, Shelley Witzky, Derek Sheena and David Lepsoe look on, as technical trail specialist, Sutra Brett and Ariana Scholinder from the Shuswap Trail Alliance demonstrate sustainable trail building practices at the new Rocky Road trail above Chase. The 1 km trail was built this season by volunteers led by local trail champion, David Lepsoe, the Village of Chase, and the Shuswap Trail Alliance trail crew. Watch for interpretive signage to come. (Photo contributed)

Public trail systems growing in the Shuswap

New Rocky Road trail opens in Chase, loop added to South Canoe system.

Having a rocky road ahead is a good thing for hikers in Chase.

The new Rocky Road trail recently opened on the hillside east of the Village of Chase with much cheering from local trail champions.

“We’ve had a great trail crew this season,” said Adrian Bostock, project manager with the Shuswap Trail Alliance.

“They’ve made the most of the lower fire hazard, allowing us to finish up two of the seven new sections of trail we’re working with regional partners on this year.”

The Scatchard Mountain Rocky Road trail is a one-kilometre trail addition to the switchback trail that climbs above Chase on the east side of Highway 1.

Park at Safety Mart in Chase and access the trails through the highway underpass on the west side of the parking lot, walking past the old cemetery to the trailhead on Foothills Road.

The trail was first championed by local historian, David Lepsoe, who noted the original plan for the old Scatchard Road included a remarkable hand-built rock retaining wall which was abandoned before ever being used due to alignment problems.

The wall now sits quietly hidden in the Douglas fir forests waiting to be discovered by hikers.

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Views over Chase Creek and the village beckon higher up the Scatchard switchbacks.

Watch for further interpretive signage to come acknowledging the significance of the area within Secwepemc territory, and be sure to stop into the Chase Museum and ask for the historic walking guide.

Further east, the new Southern Loop Trails in South Canoe add a long awaited loop linking three new sections of cross-country mountain bike trail, making it possible to ride an extended 12-kilometre loop without using forestry roads.

The trails were originally planned as part of a community led planning exercise under the banner of the South Canoe Trail Advisory.

The South Canoe Trail Advisory consists of a coalition of trail users and local residents working together with city and provincial staff, foresters and other leadership to help manage what has become one of the most well used, four-season recreational trail systems in the Shuswap.

It has become a model case study in good relationships and collaboration between land managers, hikers, equestrian riders, mountain bikers and winter Nordic trial users, as well as motorized recreation users of the forestry roads, foresters, fish and game interests, the new South Canoe Outdoor School and local residents.

Watch for more new trails to come later this season, as the Shuswap Trail Alliance trail crew and volunteer stewards continue to work on further additions at South Canoe, on the Larch Hills Traverse, at White Lake in the South Shuswap and in the East Shuswap.

The 2019 trail projects were made possible through a combination of community funds and sponsorships raised during the annual Shuswap Trails Party and Fundraiser in February, and gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the province of British Columbia through a BC Rural Dividend Program grant.

For more information on Shuswap Trails visit www.shuswaptrails.com.

Submitted by the Shuswap Trail Alliance

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