When the Rails to Trails link between Kimberley and Cranbrook was built, the goal was that the maintenance and day-to-day operation of the trail was to be handled by a Rails to Trails non-profit society.
A Society was formed, details worked out and now both Cranbrook and Kimberley city councils have signed off on a one-year trial operating agreement.
The management agreement outlines responsibilities of both cities and Society, including shared funds from both Kimberley and Cranbrook each year for an operating budget.
The Society will look after general trail maintenance tasks such as noxious weed treatment, keeping the trail clear of obstacles, clearing vegetation around crossings, line painting and more.
The primary goal under the trial operating agreement is ensuring that the trail is well maintained and continues to provide a recreational resource for its growing number of users, both local and tourists.
In 2012 there were 38,316 trail users, up from 21,005 in 2011.
The proposed budget for 2013 is $32,350, which includes general maintenance, a seasonal washroom contractor, development of interpretive signage, insurance etc.
John Mandryk, Chair of the Northstar Rails to Trails Society, said in a report to the councils, that the expenses are justified as for every dollar spent on the trail, 10 dollars is expected to be injected into the local economy.