The North Star Rails 2 Trails Society is getting a significant amount of funding from the RDEK to upgrade and maintain the paved trail spanning between Cranbrook and Kimberley.
The Regional District voted to approve $23,000 from the Community Works Fund at their monthly meeting last Friday, which will go towards improving access to the trail itself and some interpretive signage.
John Mandryk, a director with the North Star Rails 2 Trails Society, says the funding will be going to small, but important projects.
One such project will include the parking area around Shadow Mountain.
“We want to make the area around Shadow Mountain a little more accessible for people who aren’t quite as mobile,” Mandryk said.
“So access from the parking lot, which will expand the opportunity for folks who are in wheelchairs or walkers to experience the trials.
“We hope to put an overlook adjacent to that area so people get a view of the valley down to the river, so it’s a neat little project.”
Additionally, Mandryk says the funding will also include pavement bases for signage and tables.
“The pavement or stonework around the existing kiosk is to allow people to be able to go out there—again, people who are less ambulatory—to take their bikes out without having to cross gravel or uneven surfaces.”
There are also plans in the works to create some interpretive signage.
“We’re designing a signage program to enhance the trail experience, historical sites, special locations along the trail,” continued Mandryk. “We hope to incorporate some First Nations culture in that as well, in terms of historical areas and route-ways for the Aboriginal people as well.”
The North Star Rails 2 Trails Society gets annual funding from Cranbrook and Kimberley, but that goes more towards trail maintenance.
“It’s really great to have the RDEK as a contributor with this and coming on board,” said Mandryk. “They’ve helped us with previous community initiative funding, which we use largely for maintenance projects, but this is more capital cost intensive.”
The society also gets support from service groups like the Sunrise Rotary Club and has received funding from the Gran Fondo and the Columbia Basin Trust.