Users of the Kettle Valley Railway Trail will be happy that the trail between Naramata and Little Tunnel is soon going to be less of a challenge.
The provincial government announced earlier this week that $100,000 will be pumped into the world-class recreation destination. The project includes a new high-quality tread surface for a six-kilometre portion. The work is to take advantage of funding and resources available through this year’s provincial budget for recreation site and trail maintenance and improvements. Work is expected to start towards the end of the month.
John Hawkings, provincial trail manager, said Naramata is an exceptional community for the KVR trail to pass through.
“The community support for the trail, the wineries, the setting along the Okanagan Lake there, it’s just a spectacular opportunity,” he said. “We’re focused on trying to develop that opportunity in co-operation with the City of Penticton and the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen to provide a great trail linkage through Naramata to Penticton and into the South Okanagan.”
Andrew Drouin, a committee member for the KVR Working Group, said he feels it’s a “good investment as far as tourism in the area.”
Hawkings couldn’t comment on who would be doing the work as the project is being tendered. The tender closes Friday afternoon and the successful contractor is expected to be chosen early next week. Hawkings said they get regular feedback from users who stated they found it challenging to use that area. Once they hit the trail that was resurfaced two years go, they found it to be wonderful to use.
“It makes a big difference for cyclists,” said Hawkings.
“These improvements will provide a safer and higher quality experience for residents and tourists using the KVR Trail – one of the most well-known rail trails in British Columbia and Canada,” said Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson.
Penticton MLA Dan Ashton thanked Thomson for his commitment to one of the best used trails in the province.
“The trail is an important piece of the South Okanagan,” said Ashton. “There are a number of people outside our area that utilize it.”
A decision regarding motorized vehicle use of the trail in the Naramata area has not yet been made. The province will make a final decision regarding the Naramata Glenfir Trailhead to Little Tunnel after an assessment of the public safety and liability aspects of allowing continued highway vehicle use is complete.