KAMLOOPS – Trails in Kenna Cartwright were built by cyclists for racing many years ago and though the latest trails to be approved by the city make the system more user friendly for all trail users it was cyclists behind the initiative to give the park more connector trails.
Last week more than a dozen side trails covering about 4 km were officially opened in Kenna Cartwright Park, adding to the already 40 km of trails that make up the largest municipal park in the province. The non-designated trails had been closed and fenced off by the city nearly two years ago after concerns over erosion. Though the fences did little to stop those who wanted to use the trails, members of the Kamloops Bike Riders Association still wanted to see the trails officially open.
“They were concerned about erosion. None of the trails have any erosion though. It's the two tracks where water collects that erosion is a problem,” Dale MacNeill of the bike riders association says.
The group worked with the city, the Kamloops Natural Areas Advisory Committee, beekeepers, trail users and hiking groups to show the trails could be open to the public without endangering the grassland habitat.
Through the many meetings and field trips it was clear erosion was not an issue on any of the side trails and the city did not take long to agree to open the trails earlier this month and all fences were removed by the end of last week.
Several groups, including the bike riders association and the advisory committee, are now working to come up with suggestions for the naming of the trails before the committee votes on the official names. The city can then get signs up and create a new map showing the additional trails.
The trails provide alternatives to going the long way around certain hills and provide users shorter loop options for hiking and riding in the 800 hectare park.
Grace Hiom of the association likes the versatility the new trails offer.
“If you want to do a 45 minute trail or an hour or two hours, you have the option,” she says.
In a Facebook posting early last week about the reopening association member Thomas Bennett said the one driving force that all committee members share is an enjoyment and passion for the nature parks.
"Everyone was able to see how well those trails fit in with the rest of the trail network, and that they are environmentally responsible,” Bennett says.
Group spokesperson Scott Baker says the next big project is a trail system in Lac du Bois. Beginning with a 25 km trail above Batchelor Heights, the group is working with B.C. Parks to make the trails in Lac du Bois official and provide signage, trails names, kiosks, maps and parking areas.
The bike riders group first came together to create the bike ranch in Juniper Ridge before the city took it over and have continued to work with the city to provide input on the master plans for the city nature parks in addition to helping to manage the bike trails at Harper Mountain.
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