One of B.C.’s most beloved recreational trails, the Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail, is in desperate need of repair.
Why is the KVR in shambles? On Nov 14, 2021 an atmospheric river hit the Pacific Northwest with a series of floods, creating havoc on the KVR Trail with extreme washouts and damages to the trail and historical infrastructure that have not yet been repaired.
The Province of BC owns the KVR Rail Trail. It is a provincial asset that is supported by the citizens of B.C.’s taxpayer dollars. The KVR is a 492 kilometre section of the Trans Canada Trail, the longest trail network in the world connecting 27,000 kilometres of trail across Canada.
If riders ever want to ride this trail again, the time to be vocal is now. The KVR Preservation Alliance is calling on all riders to send letters to government officials to convince them that the KVR is worth saving. The deadline to has been extended to December 31, 2022.
Kelly Reichert, president of Timberline Cruisers ATV Club, explains in detail why the KVR is so integral to the area and why riders should be concerned about its uncertain future.
“The KVR provides economic benefits to our rural communities with revenue from tourism, creating jobs, improving quality of life and community health, promoting local business and community growth, making our rural communities more desirable.” — Kelly Reichert — Photo courtesy Kelly Reichert
Why is the KVR Rail Trail important to you?
The KVR Rail Trail is an important link connecting our surrounding communities and is a vital economic driver as recreation is what attracts visitors and residents to the region and is the reason people live, retire and have their second homes here. All it takes is a drive around the towns to see that the majority of residents own ATVs.
The Trail is used by various groups, friends and families as a trail but also as a transportation corridor to access the many other trails and points of interest in our area where riders enjoy nature, wildlife, fishing, hunting and scenery. It is a year-round asset that hikers, bikers, horses and ATVers use during the better part of the year, switching to cross country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter. Ultimately, the KVR defines us.
“What we really need is for people to contact the government and voice their concern over losing this precious piece of trail.” — Kelly Reichert — Photo courtesy Kelly Reichert
What are some of the best aspects of the KVR Rail Trail?
The KVR provides economic benefits to our rural communities with revenue from tourism, creating jobs, improving quality of life and community health, promoting local business and community growth, making our rural communities more desirable. While the KVR provides majestic scenery and a connection to nature with all its lakes and mountains, it also has significant historic value in the fur trade and early settlement of B.C. The railway, hoodoos, gold and coal mining, red bluffs prized by the local Indigenous communities—is all right here. You don’t even have to go off the trail to find any of it.
The floods have also shown us that the KVR trail provides protection against natural disasters for homes and properties, acting as a natural barrier to protect against the impact of climate change disasters triggered by extreme weather as the KVR protected many properties during the 2021 flood.
Repairs to the KVR are essential in ensuring public safety, allowing local residents and visitors to safely travel between communities across the region, avoiding the narrow, winding, mountain roads with no shoulder and sweeping blind corners.
“While some areas have washouts, there are large sections of the trail that are completely gone. Trestles are in need of upgrading/repairing.” — Kelly Reichert — Photo courtesy Kelly Reichert
Please highlight some of the specific damage that has occurred to the KVR Rail Trail and how increased advocacy and participation from readers will help fix/maintain the trail.
While some areas have washouts, there are large sections of the trail that are completely gone. Trestles are in need of upgrading/repairing. We understand it is a big undertaking, but when you consider what it took to build the railway and its trestles and tunnels in the early 1900s, with pick and shovel, our modern-day knowledge and equipment can repair the trail back to its former glory. With an abundance of volunteers and can-do attitude, we can save this iconic trail.
November 2022 marked the one-year anniversary of the flood. On November 17, 2022, the Province of BC stated that the government has not yet decided if the trail will be repaired. Government represents the people, with decisions based on public needs and demands. This means that each of us has a responsibility to let the government know what recreation values and community impacts are important to us. How can we expect the government to make the right decision and support our values if they don’t know what they are?
What we really need is for people to contact the government and voice their concern over losing this precious piece of trail. Help us and help the trail by writing letters. This link has the who and the how (with template letters). It’ll only take 10 minutes to make a lasting difference.
“With an abundance of volunteers and can-do attitude, we can save this iconic trail.” — Kelly Reichert — Photo courtesy Kelly Reichert