The trails at Margaret Falls before the 2017 flooding which caused extensive damage to the popular attraction. The trail was marked as closed indefinitely on June 2, 2017, with a target of reopening by June 2019. (File photo.)

Margaret Falls trails likely to remain closed through 2018

Fierce flooding in 2017 warrants extensive repairs to Shuswap scenic trail network

A popular destination for residents and visitors to the Shuswap region looks to remain closed through the 2018 hiking season.

Margaret Falls is a scenic trail network located within the Herald Provincial Park that fell victim to the effects of heavy spring runoff and mudslide conditions in the past year. The trail was listed as ‘indefinitely closed’ as of June 2, 2017 and, despite cleanup efforts on the part of the B.C. Ministry of Environment, the trail system remains in rough shape as of early 2018.

Phil McIntyre-Paul, executive director of the Shuswap Trail Alliance, says “we work really closely with BC parks, but because it was such a major impact last season, the repair is huge. They’re having to work through their capital budget program to repair the trail, so I suspect it will be this season or next season, though I’ve heard it sounding more like 2019 before they get the place totally repaired.”

The 2017 flooding of the area caused extensive damage to the trail system at Margaret Falls, completely destroying sections of the trail, tearing bridges from their foundations and even rerouting the river in some locations.

McIntyre-Paul adds, “the good news is that there is lots of new trails to explore across the Shuswap so we’re trying to get word out that they shouldn’t stay away. Margaret Falls will be spectacular but won’t necessarily be repaired right away. That’s part of the flood and the unprecedented events of last season that are taking their toll.”

The ministry released a statement saying, “the trail and facilities will require an engineers assessment and estimate prior to any remedial work being completed, which will take place once current water levels begin to recede.” Adding, “there is a high likelihood that the trail will not be available for public use this season.”

The minsitry’s target date for reopening of the trails at Margaret Falls is June 2019, with an estimated cost of $300,000 to bring the it back to acceptable public safety conditions. Further updates may be found on the Ministry of Environment or BC Parks website as work continues and more information is made available.

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