Okanagan Rail Trail sees 170% increase in use leading up to Easter weekend - InfoNews

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Okanagan Rail Trail sees 170% increase in use leading up to Easter weekend

Kilometre zero at the northern end of the Okangan Rail Trail in Coldstream, B.C., is seen in this photo taken, Sunday, April 5, 2020.
April 16, 2020 - 12:45 PM

With visits to see family for an Easter lunch over the long weekend out of the question, it appears social distancing rules may have had a positive effect on the region's waistline.

The Okanagan Rail Trail saw a 170 per cent increase in use over the week leading up to Easter, with over 15,000 more trips being made along the converted rail line this year.

According to the Regional District of North Okanagan, 24,358 people accessed northern sections of the Okanagan Rail Trail between April 8 and April 14. During the same week which wrapped around the Easter long weekend 2019, a total of 9,045 people used the trail.

The numbers come from counters set up at access points at Kekuli Bay, Kickwillie and at the newly developed trailhead at kilometre zero. Even with the parking lot shut, 18,516 people still accessed the trail at the Kickwillie access point.

The regional district says it's important to note that trail counters pick up people travelling in both directions and includes people who have entered and exited the trail from the same access point.

This year's numbers may also have increased as provincial parks are now closed.

The Okanagan Rail Trail wasn't the only busy place over the long weekend as over 1,500 people visited the regional district's landfill site, despite repeated requests to only come to the facilities for essential trips.

Waste that will rot, stink, or attract animals is considered essential but garden waste is not considered essential. However, over 1,300 vehicles dropped off yard waste between April 8 and April 13.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 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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