August 29, 2013 - 2:29 PM
KELOWNA - With cool weather and reduced wildfire risk motorists will now be able to drive to the summit of Knox Mountain.
The upper portion of Knox Mountain Drive was closed in early August and reopens to traffic today.
Expect to see some new features in the park, most noticeably new wooden railings to realign the trail entrance. Where trail users could normally choose any number of paths up the hillside, there is now a designated S-curve trail to follow.
Urban Forestry Supervisor Blair Stewart says the goal is simply to preserve the natural habitat.
"What people have been doing for years is cutting corners, eroding the soils and damaging the vegetation," Stewart says. "Everybody thought that was the trail - which it never was." He adds the unofficial pathways were carved into the earth by hikers looking for a steeper challenge. The Apex trail upgrades, expected to complete by the end of year, are meant to deter trail users from keeping up with their usual habits.
With federal and muncipal funding the City is trying to restore the hillside's natural state.
"We're putting in native seed trying to get it to come back and planting trees along the trail as well," Stewart says.
And further up Knox Mountain some of the trail has been rerouted around areas with high runoff in the Spring.
Stewart says the road will stay open until the winter weather hits.
"Until the first signs of frost and then we close the whole road altogether," he says, as street maintenance crews don't service the Knox Mountain road.
"But normally we don't see that until October."
That means visitors have at least another two months to take in the spectacular mountain views from the upper lookout.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at email@example.com or call (250)718-0428.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013