Hundreds of kilometres of off-road Bear Creek trails, mapped at the tip of your finger | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Hundreds of kilometres of off-road Bear Creek trails, mapped at the tip of your finger

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
March 09, 2019 - 1:30 PM

WEST KELOWNA - If you're unprepared, it can be easy to get lost in the Bear Creek Off-Highway Vehicle trails.

The trails, located north of West Kelowna near Bear Lake Main Road and short drive from the Bear Creek Provincial Park, stretch out for over 35,000 hectares, a labyrinth of routes and paths for off-road enthusiasts of all skill levels.

The Okanagan Trail Riders Association, a group of motorbike and ATV enthusiasts, is aiming to make navigation easier than ever.

The Riders Association will be debuting a geospatial download available for the public when the riding season starts next month. Geospatial data provides geographic information of an area based on GPS and satellite information. The PDF download will offer detailed analysis on the variety of routes at Bear Creek.

The Association has been mapping out the area for years. Volunteers armed with GPS devices have walked through the Bear Creek trails recording every nook and cranny. President Kent Jorgenson said it's a constant job that's required thousands of hours for the last 12 years.

Over the years, the Association has added numerous trails to the Bear Creek area. Surveyors will analyze the land to determine if it will make for a good trail, and if so, the group will apply for approval from the government. It's a meticulous process.

"Trail building is a lot of work," Jorgenson said.

As more trails have been added, and as other trails have worn out, the riders group has had to constantly update their maps. They still offer physical copies of maps, but their geospatial project provides up-to-date information. Their geospatial PDF will detail the length of trails and what riders can expect to see on them in terms of geography.

"Technology allows us to update our maps in minutes," Jorgenson said.

Jorgenson hopes the geospatial PDF will keep riders informed and safe.

"If you don't know where you're going, you're in trouble," he said.

Jorgenson said the geospatial PDF should be ready for use on April 1.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Sean Mott or call (250) 864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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