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Loads of advice for Rail Trail

From rest stops with water fountains to a ban on electric bikes and scooters, many people have ideas about how to design and monitor the Okanagan Rail Trail, stretching from Coldstream through Lake Country to Kelowna.

Some of the online comments include suggestions of where to put swimming areas, picnic tables and washrooms.

“No high speeds, particularly in populated areas of the trail,” said one person, likely concerned with cyclists whipping past hikers.

“There are a number of commercial orchards in Oyama here and just north of the isthmus. I would like to see a buffer on the uphill side of these portions of the trail, ideally some trees with fairly dense foliage and some lower shrubs,” said another person. “It should help minimize noise and dust from the orchards and help prevent trespassing.”

Suggestions include:

  • paving the Kelowna trail route to UBC Okanagan to encourage more bike commuting for students that need to live further away from campus
  • no motorized vehicles such as ATVs, quads and motorcycles
  • no camping
  • have security patrols and a gate that closes at 10 p.m.
  • security phones at intervals along the track to report fires

Parking appears to be of concern in the North Okanagan, with one person suggesting angled parking along the north trail head in Coldstream.

One money-making formula includes getting contributions from companies and families willing to pay to have sections of the trail named after them.

“Very similar to the Trans-Canada Trail,” said a comment. “At certain points along the trail are the names of the people you are honouring. This would help pay for signage and upkeep.”

A total of 160 people submitted ideas for the trail before public comments closed on March 27.

The rail trail was purchased from CN Rail for $22 million and has yet to be developed. Lake Country Mayor James Baker has stated that taxes will not be used to pay for development.

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