The Hillcrest Heights greenway, completed in May, loops around Hillcrest Elementary, from 20th Street SE south of the school, to 10th Avenue SE, not far from the 30th Street SE intersection. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

The Hillcrest Heights greenway, completed in May, loops around Hillcrest Elementary, from 20th Street SE south of the school, to 10th Avenue SE, not far from the 30th Street SE intersection. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Shuswap Trail Alliance talks summer successes and projects delayed by wildfires

Hope remains work delayed on some projects can begin again in the fall

Wildfires and related smoke put a pause on some trail projects in the region, but the Shuswap Trail Alliance was still able to get other work done over the summer.

One of the Shuswap Trail Alliance’s (STA) recent jobs, done in partnership with the City of Salmon Arm and the Salmon Arm Nature Bay Enhancement Society, was raising a section of the city’s foreshore trail.

“That was 280 metres of trail improvements that kind of addressed some year-round wet spots along the trail,” STA operation manager Adrian Bostock. Drain rock and crushed rock were used to raise the trail, and five small boardwalk bridges were put in place to allow water to flow between the wetland areas on both sides of the trail. Bostock said these were used instead of culverts, which tend to plug up. He explained should the ditches beneath fill up, the boards can be removed for maintenance.

Bostock said another reason for the trail improvements was to improve accessibility.

“There’s now a two-kilometre stretch from the gate to the big boardwalk where people with mobility issues can get to fairly easily, which was kind of the goal there,” said Bostock. “I think we’ve achieved it.”

Earlier this summer, the STA completed the Hillcrest Heights greenway. This path loops around Hillcrest Elementary from 20th Street SE, south of the school, to 10th Avenue SE, not far from the 30th Street SE intersection.

Bigger projects put on hold due to the wildfires include trail work on Eagle Pass Mountain, which began in June, and a trail from Owl Head to the Mara Mountain fire lookout.

Read more: City raising low, wet areas of popular Salmon Arm foreshore trail

Read more: Column: Shuswap Trail Alliance co-founders helped create a legacy to be proud of

“It’s an old fire lookout trail that’s been neglected for many years,” said Bostock. “We did a bit of work last year just cutting out some blowdown and kind of figuring out what we were going to do out there.”

“We have 500 metres of boardwalk to build through about an eight-kilometre section of trail. We haven’t had time to start it. I was hoping to get going this September, we still might depending on what happens with the wildfires.”

An ongoing project for the trail alliance involves a trail that runs from the South Canoe parking lot to the Rubberhead trail network. Bostock said about a kilometre of the trail was done by students in Salmon Arm Secondary’s mountain bike academy.

“The trail is going to be about four kilometres, so it’s not finished yet, but they were able to build about a kilometre of trail which is pretty good over four or five build days,” said Bostock.

A bridge is needed for the trail to cross East Canoe Creek, below the water treatment plant. Bostock said the bridge isn’t finished yet, though stringers are in place. The bridge, he said, is being built to support travel by horse.

Though not necessarily trail related, the STA also supported the ongoing efforts of the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society with the removal of Yellow Flag Iris at White Lake and Gardom Lake.

“The Yellow flag iris is a super invasive plant that grows in the same place as bulrushes,” said Bostock. “It’s really hard on things like painted turtles and ducks and stuff that use that ground as nesting grounds because it kind of chokes them out.”

Bostock is hopeful there will be time in the fall to get his crew back to work on projects that were delayed this summer.

For more information about local trails, including maps and trail details including distance and difficulty, visit shuswaptrails.com.


lachlan@saobserver.net
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