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Planning continues for Sicamous to Armstrong rail trail; fundraising now top priority

A technical expert assess rising waters and erosion on the rail trail along the Shuswap River this spring for the Sicamous to Armstrong rail trail development plan.
A technical expert assess rising waters and erosion on the rail trail along the Shuswap River this spring for the Sicamous to Armstrong rail trail development plan. Waters Edge Limited

Planning for a rail trail between Sicamous and Armstrong has continued the past two months despite challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, the Shuswap Trail Alliance announced that preliminary assessments have been made, and that technical consultants have been accessing the currently-closed rail corridor this spring to complete planning work.

The trail will be 50 kilometres in length, with the alliance stating fundraising is now a top priority.

READ MORE: Proposed rail trail in North Okanagan, Shuswap lands $500K in provincial funding

“As part of the commitment to tell the true story of the region within the Secwepemc Nation Territory, preliminary assessments have been conducted by Splatsin leadership for both archaeological and cultural heritage values,” the alliance said in a press release.

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Further, it said geotechnical, environmental, agricultural, stormwater, erosion control and steep slope planning, plus structural bridge assessments, are being done by local experts.

Also being done are flood monitoring and invasive plant mitigation.

Sicamous to Armstrong rail trail not open
Sicamous to Armstrong rail trail not open

The alliance said the rail corridor is closed to the public until the trail can be safely developed for walking and cycling.

It added that residents living near the greenway can expect to see authorized personnel occasionally travelling the corridor by foot or vehicle.

Temporary kilometre markers have also been installed to assist in the planning.

Etiquette urged when using the Okanagan Rail Trail
Etiquette urged when using the Okanagan Rail Trail

“Political support for the rail trail remains strong among all partners, who recognize the significant social and economic opportunity the rail trail holds for the communities throughout the region,” said the alliance.

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“This is particularly important, given the upcoming period of economic recovery following the pandemic.”

The alliance said when public health measures allow it, in-person consultations and public meetings will resume.

For more information about the rail trail, click here.