Trail of the Okanagan organizers look to expand

The Trail of the Okanagans Committee hopes to expand the pathway south of Summerland along Okanagan Lake.

The Trail of the Okanagans Committee hopes to expand the pathway south of Summerland along Okanagan Lake.

“Now that Phase One of the Summerland-to-Penticton section of the pathway is complete and attracting users, we are focusing on Phase Two, which will extend the pathway from Trout Creek to Penticton,” said Henry Sielmann, chair of the board.

“We’re very excited that an engineering study for this phase, jointly funded by the Province, RDOS, Penticton and Summerland is about to get underway.  And, there’s a lot of support building for Phase Three that we hope will connect Summerland and Peachland on the historic Fur Brigade Trail, recently honoured with a Heritage B.C. award.”

A short portion of the trail is in place from Trout Creek to Lakeshore Drive in Summerland, but the committee’s goal is to expand to a valley-wide trail.

The first phase of the path, a 1.3-kilometre section, had a cost of $730,000. It was opened in September. Part of the cost came because a retaining wall was needed.

Sielmann estimates the cost of expanding the path from Trout Creek to Penticton would cost around $4 million.

He said the path will improve safety for cyclists.

“We need a safe way for people to cycle between Penticton and Summerland,” he said.

The path will also provide access to three small provincial parks south of Summerland. The parks have picnic tables and washroom facilities.

The committee hopes to connect Penticton, Summerland and Peachland to close the gap between trail systems currently in place or under development in the region.

At the committee’s annual general meeting in April, three new board positions were added.

Dianne Hayley of Peachland and Ellen Woodd of Summerland were elected to serve as liaisons in the central and south Okanagan respectively.

David Gregory of Summerland will represent historical interests to the board.