Welcome to the South Okanagan Trail Alliance April 2017 Newsletter
- Spring Has Arrived! -
It’s Officially Spring - Let the warm-weather trail-lovin’ begin! As much as we’ve been enjoying the many snow-sports available to us in the province this winter, it’s time to shift into spring and dirt singletrack. I give you more than just our usual “new trail of the month” - how about an entire mountain and its excellent little trail network!? Spion Kop, in Lake Country.
Trail building, maintenance, sanctioning and signage on this mountain is care of numerous locals and the Lake Country WALC group (Walk Around Lake Country). Their work is an excellent example of what can be accomplished on Rattlesnake Mt., Conkle Mt., Campbell Mt. and numerous local heights of land in the valley.
Uber Kudos to WALC for their hard work and dedication! Log into SweetSingletrack.ca and use the new links provided via the Spion Kop listing.
BC Parks Foundation: We’re big on BC Parks - at all levels of government, and as such, thought that you might like to learn about the new BC Parks Foundation. In a nutshell, It’s about seeking private funding for BC Parks, or, in BC-Government-speak: “Mission: To attract and encourage British Columbians and others to contribute to enhancement of the ecological, recreational, cultural and educational values of BC’s world class parks system”. We’re not sure if this will mean commercial development in BC Parks, and as such, are keeping an eye on this process. Then again, if the Liberals lose the May election, this project may vanish or be enhanced. Time will tell…
Road-Trips!: Around here, we like to think of road trips as a year-round’ option, but spring, summer and fall especially lend themselves to the quest for singletrack! The City of Kamloops has taken up the challenge of providing detailed trail maps for their area. This is a first, as historically, printouts of this area's trail info’ was scattered and vague, aside from bits and pieces online. Check out the new Tourism Kamloops Trail-Maps which should be available through all Kamloops outdoor, sports & recreation and tourism offices this year.
Ron Hayman Classic Jr. Road Race Series: The South Okanagan Trail Alliance is once again volunteering as traffic control with the Ron Hayman Jr. Classic Race event. We’ve worked with Ron and Co. for several years now, and this inspirational event has become an important fundraiser for our organization. As such, we ask that you please consider joining us as traffic control volunteers at 8am, on June the 10th, for the Criterium component of this three-part event. The Crit’ will be held on Riverside Drive, in Penticton, adjacent to the channel parkway.
This event is brief and the traffic control work very easy / straightforward. Volunteer commitments run approximately 8am to noon (max). Full details on the Crit’ course and timing is available here. Please contact Andrew Drouin at 250.486.2443 for more info’, or email email@example.com
SOTA memberships - It’s that time of the year again, when yours truly asks you, my fellow trail-fiends, to step up and support ‘all-things-trail’ in the South Okanagan! Everyone loves nature, and one of the most enjoyable ways to immerse oneself in nature is via trails. The South Okanagan Trail Alliance signs, sanctions, builds and maintains trails nearly the width and breadth of our beautiful valley. But we need your help in doing so.
As I so often say, “there’s no ‘Mr.Ranger’ out working most local trails - that would generally be us, or those like us”. Please support the South Okanagan Trail Alliance in 2017 by visiting our site, signing up for a membership, or simply donating a buck or five to the cause via our PayPal link (firstname.lastname@example.org)
As a ‘sweetener’, this year's SOTA Membership Drive sees the Trail Alliance getting air - Big Air! Everyone who signs up for a 2017 South Okanagan Trail Alliance membership is automatically entered into one of three draw prizes for a one-hour aerial tour of the South Okanagan! Three lucky SOTA members will be toured around the Okanagan-Similkameen, overlooking some of our best trails for a solid hour of aerial sightseeing! Enroute, we'll check out most of the area’s major lakes, mountains and trail networks.
As a bonus of SOTA membership, you’ll get to meet and work with some of the most dedicated outdoor recreationalists in the valley, gain free access to a wide variety of hand and power tools from our Tool-Loan program (including an irrigation compressor, which comes in handy each fall) enjoy unlimited free access to detailed maps and GPS / Google Earth tracks comprising hundreds of Okanagan Valley trails via SweetSingletrack.ca, gain trail-day coverage under Canada’s most comprehensive insurance policy and become a member of the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC - along with all of the perks of FMCBC membership.
New, streamlined FMCBC Website: The Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC have recently refreshed their homepage, providing easier access to all-things-trail through our 34 member-clubs. Check it out.
I’m Giving a Talk, and you are invited! : The Summerland Philosopher’s Café have asked me to speak at a panel discussion on the benefits of being in the natural environment, featuring panelists who share a variety of interests or specialties in the outdoors including hikers, bikers, birders, wanderers, etc. All of which is sooo right up my alley!
Philosophers’ Cafés are community events where everyone is invited to be part of a dialogue on a wide variety of issues in our times. So whether you just want to sit back and listen or actively participate, please join us for an evening of meaningful conversation while enjoying a cup of coffee or tea with friends!
Café events are held upstairs in the (old) Summerland Library Building, 9525 Wharton St., near downtown Summerland, next to the Museum. People usually begin arriving just after 6:30pm and the Cafe begins at 7pm. . Coffee / tea / cookies. Tuesday, April 18th.
Woodticks: the creepy little crawlers are baaaaaack! Picked one off my jacket this past Sunday, and have heard a couple of friends say that they too have encountered these beasties of late. Aside from the sheer creepiness of a critter that buries its head under your skin to drink your blood - the greatest concern for most folks is Lyme disease, which can be transmitted by woodticks.
In a nutshell, the prevalence of Lyme disease in BC is somewhere around .5%, which, while not reassuring for those unlucky few who have been infected, equates to relatively small odds. If you’d like to see the science behind this issue, please visit the BC Medical Journal website and educate yourself. In the meantime, here are the best ways to protect yourself.
Mountains 101 - A University Course: This is pretty cool. I’ve signed up and am making my way through the course. Mountains 101 is a 12-lesson ‘Massive Open Online Course’ (MOOC) teaching a comprehensive overview of Mountain Studies. Mountains 101 will cover an interdisciplinary field of study focusing on the physical, biological, and human dimensions of mountain places in Canada, and around the world. See more at the University of Alberta Mountain Course 101
And that’s it for this month’s newsletter. I hope to see you out on the trails this spring and look forward to introducing you to the amazing work that the South Okanagan Trail Alliance does for your trails! Join us; come play in the forest :-) and please consider volunteering with us at the Ron Hayman Classic cycling event.
Welcome to the South Okanagan Trail Alliance March 2017 Newsletter
- The Countdown to Spring Has Arrived! -
Welcome to what we're calling “The Spring Edition” – ya’, it’s just around the corner – so get out there and enjoy the alpine while you can, including our…
New Trail of the Month - The March “New Trail of the Month” is actually a collection of trail networks, located on one of my favorite mountains. Though Baldy Mountain Resort is known for its excellent family downhill recreation, it also features a little-known (to everyone but the locals anyway) front and backcountry xc-ski / snowshoe / hiking trail infrastructure.
As much as I love its downhill terrain, I’m equally enamored with the mountain’s impressive ‘grassroots’ trail networks. This array of winter routes includes front-country trails on Baldy’s lower south-east and south-west slopes, a back-country ridgeline route and a small, interconnected xc-ski area which was developed in 1985 for the BC Winter Games. In all, nearly a dozen new routes to discover!
Log into www.SweetSingletrack.ca in order to download a full set of Google Earth / GPS tracks and read up on the area’s many trails.
SOTA memberships - It’s that time of the year again, when yours truly asks you, my fellow trail-fiends, to step up and support ‘all-things-trail’ in the South Okanagan! Everyone loves nature, and one of the most enjoyable ways to immerse oneself in nature is via trails. The South Okanagan Trail Alliance signs, sanctions, builds and maintains trails the width and breadth of our beautiful valley.
But we need your help in doing so. As I so often say, “there’s no ‘Mr.Ranger’ out working most local trails - that would generally be us”.
As a ‘sweetener’, this years SOTA Membership Drive sees the Trail Alliance getting air - Big Air! Everyone who signs up for a 2017 South Okanagan Trail Alliance membership is automatically entered into one of three draw prizes for a one-hour aerial tour of the South Okanagan!
Three lucky SOTA members will be toured around the Okanagan-Similkameen, overlooking some of our best trails for a solid hour of aerial sightseeing! Enroute, we'll check out most of the areas major lakes, mountains and trail networks.
As a bonus of SOTA membership, you’ll get to meet and work with some of the most dedicated outdoor recreationalists in the valley, gain free access to a wide variety of hand and power tools from our Tool-Loan program (including an irrigation compressor, which comes in handy each fall), enjoy unlimited free access to detailed maps and GPS / Google Earth tracks comprising hundreds of Okanagan Valley trails via SweetSingletrack.ca, gain trail-day coverage under Canada’s most comprehensive insurance policy and become a member of the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC - along with all of the perks of FMCBC membership.
Rec. Sites & Trails BC Gazetted Trails Map - Last month, I introduced you to the best topographical map that I’ve found online to date. This month, I’ll show you something along the same lines, but dedicated to displaying Recreation Sites & Trails BC’s gazetted sites and trails via an interactive map. It displays all recreation and sites and trails that have been ‘officially sanctioned’ by Rec. Sites and Trails BC - province wide. This site also makes an excellent reference for hiking and camping road trips.
It’s a big year for South Okanagan trail advocacy! - In addition to the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC AGM being held here on May 27th / 28th, the Outdoor Recreation Council will also be holding their annual Trails Workshop in Penticton on May 12th and 13th. As an ORC member-club, we’ll be looking to share information and learn from all manner of trail user-groups, speaking to issues surrounding Okanagan Trails (the ‘missing’ Vaseux Lake train-bridge…) and showcasing our beautiful local trail infrastructure. In addition, the Provincial Trails Advisory Body will also be holding our quarterly meeting in Kelowna mid-May as well. Trails, Trails, Trails!
BC Green Party introduces ‘Right to Roam Act’ for BC - which seeks a version of an oft-requested European-style model of land-access, allowing enhanced freedom for the public to cross private lands. Read up on it here - Go Greens! I know of at least a half-dozen trails that this legislature would positively affect in the valley...
Megga-List of BC trail-groups - We’ve been working on an interesting project for the Provincial Trails Advisory Body. It involves the creation of a master-contact list of every recreational trail user-group in the province (!) To date, we’ve added well over 600 groups to this contact list, and look to add perhaps 200 additional before completion. We’re conducting this process in order to bring groups up to speed with our Trails Strategy for BC project, facilitate receiving feedback on ‘all-things-trail’ in BC and allow us to become aware & supportive of one-another.
Muddy Trails (Spring etiquette) - While we understand the urge to head out onto the trails as soon as the snow clears, we’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that non-southern-facing trails will likely be muddy over the next few weeks to a month or more. As such, please consider sticking with southern facing trails, or alpine and sub alpine winter recreation trails for the short term, at least until the N/W/E-aspect trails have time to dry up a bit.
Early-spring use of non-southerly low-valley trails often makes a rutted / pocked mess of the trail surfaces and massively increases the work of volunteer trail-builders / maintainers valley-wide. Tnx., much appreciated.
2017 Poker Derby Race Event - Last year’s Carmi XC Recreation Trails Poker Derby didn’t pan out due to weather and volunteer commitments - this year we plan to hold it on Sunday, Sept. 17th, 10am, as an all-ages, family-fun event! Please drop us a line if you’d like to participate as a volunteer or participant in the SOTA Poker Derby, followed by an afternoon on the deck of the former Lost Moose Lodge*, featuring live acoustic music and some of the most amazing alpine vistas over the Okanagan valley! $10 at the gate (Carmi XC Recreation Area Trailhead, 12km up Beaverdell Rd., from Penticton Hospital) No advance tickets - ( * Location to be confirmed )
Ron Hayman Classic Youth Stage Race Series - Call for Volunteers - Once again the Trail Alliance will be volunteering with the Ron Hayman Classic Youth Stage Race event - one of our key club fundraisers each year and an all-round' good time! Huge kudos to everyone who turned up last year (which was an amazing success!) and we invite those and others to join us again this year.
Our part of the 2017 event will be held in Penticton, along a section of the Channel Parkway. Please contact us via email if you’d like to pitch in and help out - we’d love to have you aboard for this excellent event!
HSB Trail Adventure - We're assembling a small group of individuals (maximum 4 or 5, with two already confirmed) who are interested in a two or three-day riding / hike-a-biking adventure along the Hudson's Bay Company Heritage Trail this Sept. If this sounds like your kinda’ thing, check out this trip report, as well as in-depth detail and history here.
Drop us a line if you are interested in taking part in our Fall adventure.
That's it for now. Tap' at cha' again in April - get out there on the trails, work can wait :-)
Welcome to the South Okanagan Trail Alliance Feb. 2017 Newsletter
- we’re enjoying the winter, but looking forward to spring -
The New Trail of the Month: McTaggart-Cowan Wildlife Management Area - The trailhead of this Eastside Rd. network is well-signed, and the area is quite popular with people of all ages - though the summit hike requires some sure footed enthusiasm. Located approximately 2km south of Penticton, it offers both single and dual-track hikes of moderate-to-advanced difficulty, while rewarding visitors with stunning vistas over Skaha Lake, backed by massive rock walls (shades of Skaha Bluffs) and a variety of wildlife.
The area also hosts historic First Nations pictographs, the proximity of which may be an issue to some folks, so I’ll not specifically point them out in this missive. Please show respect while in this habitat - or expect to lose access, as you are on Nature Trust property / a First Nations heritage site while visiting the area. Check out the McTaggart-Cowan Wildlife Management Area using this Google Earth file. I’ll not likely be posting this route to SweetSingletrack.ca due to the aforementioned pictographs. Please note that this is a definite “No Pets” zone, both for the sake of wildlife and your dog’s paws, as the place is laden with cactus!
Basic Injury Prevention Principals - Mark your calendar: friend to many and all around great guy Andrew Dingwall, is hosting a sport-related info-session titled ‘Basic Injury Prevention Principals’ on Monday, February 20th, 6:30 - 9:30 pm at Peach City Runners, 214 Main Street, Penticton. For those Facebook-inclined, check out this site
FMCBC ED Job Posting - The Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC - an excellent organization that I cannot say enough good things about, has just posted a job opening for executive director. The pay is more than fair, the board of directors that the successful applicant would work with are amazing and the goals of the organization are peerless. If you feel that you might have ‘the right stuff’ for a position with the FMCBC, check out the post and prerequisites here
Fat-Biking Big White Resort - An update on ski-resort support for FatBikes (Re; the January Newsletter) In a nutshell, Big White has joined the FatBike Craze! Here are the details.
Chasing Trail Funding - Hudson's Bay Company Heritage Trail - Though I generally present information on Okanagan- Similkameen trails, my mind has recently been captivated by thoughts of hiking (or even hike-a-biking) the historic HBC Fur Traders Trail. So too were the hearts of a couple of locals, who are now looking at creating a documentary highlighting the route. Check out the goals of the South Okanagan’s favorite storytelling videographers, Erin & Eric.
More info’ on the trail itself can be found here.
Related to this, Hope Mountain Centre's program director Kelly Pearce - whose group had a major hand in clearing the HSBC Trail over the past few years, will be presenting a talk on the trail at the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC AGM in Penticton this spring. The South Okanagan Trail Alliance and the Penticton Outdoor Club will be co-hosting approximately forty executive members of the FMCBC from around the province on May 26th through 28th.
Detailed Gov. Topo’ Maps - While SweetSingletrack.ca offers many downloadable GPS-trails, I’ve often been asked about topographical maps showing detailed backcountry resource roads (great for snowshoeing and xc-skiing). Here’s the absolute best source that I’ve found to date.
Presentation may differ, depending on the operating system and web browser that you use, but for this tutorial I’ll be using Microsoft Internet Explorer on Windows 8.1 as that represents a common software setup. Begin by clicking on the link above, which will bring you to an overview map covered in square boxes with a trio of blocks in each (all three blocks perform the same function).
Mouse-click / hold and drag to an area of interest, then roll the scroll-wheel on your mouse, or click on the + symbol on your keyboard to zoom in. Click on the trio of blocks over your area of interest, and a pop-out dialogue box appears. Select the word Map, which should trigger your Adobe PDF reader application (or equivalent) to appear and present a detailed Adobe PDF map of that area.
You can zoom into this map quite closely (using the CTRL key on your keyboard in concert with your mouse scroll-wheel, or the floating toolbar which should appear at the bottom of the screen). You can also save that PDF file for future reference or printing. Singletrack (generally) appears as dotted lines, while service roads (generally) appear as dashed lines. I hope that this opens up countless adventures for you! I use it to plan snowshoe routes in the alpine and look forward to it helping us plan some adventurous ‘bike-country touring’ this summer. This mapping system is missing a lot of singletrack, but it presents more old resource extraction roads (aka: “service roads”) than any map that I’ve seen before.
Maintaining and restoring water repellency of Gore-Tex - Gore-Tex garments are symbiotic with outdoor adventure, especially winter and spring. Gore-Tex is pretty great at keeping one dry… until they get too funky or filthy. Knowing how to maintain and restore repellency to Gore-Tex gear is paramount to eking longer service life out of these expensive garments. Check out this handy little article from DirtRagMag
Logging in the Carmi XC Trail Network - Anyone who has spent much time in the alpine knows that logging is an ongoing process nearly everywhere in the Okanagan. Such is the case with the Carmi Recreation Trail Network in 2017. This year, yet another section of the Carmi XC trails will be logged. The zone in question bridges the midsection of the OK Vista Loop. We have been approached by the Ministry of Forest, provided with a map of the affected area and assured that the logging company will leave the trail network clear and passable after the completion of work.
As much as this is a PITA for some of us, one positive side-effect of the operation will be reopened site-lines down to the valley below - vistas that ceased to exist twenty years ago in that area as trees grew to obscure it. Keep this logging in mind if you are keen to visit that area - as well as the CODE4, Knuckleduster and Pancho' trails, which will be affected for approximately 300m of their length. IE: you might want to skip riding those trails this year.
The linked image above indicates the affected area in red. The green tracks represent the Carmi Rec. trails while the yellow tracks represent the CODE4, Knuckleduster and Pancho’s Revenge DH trails.
2017 South Okanagan Trail Alliance Membership Drive / Contest - The Trail Alliance is getting air - Big Air! Everyone who signs up for a 2017 South Okanagan Trail Alliance membership in 2017 is automatically entered into one of three draw prizes for a one-hour aerial tour of the South Okanagan…how cool is that?! Three lucky SOTA members will be toured around the Okanagan-Similkameen, overlooking some of our best mountain and grassland trails for a solid hour of aerial sightseeing!
We’ll check out Giant’s Head Mt., Rattlesnake Mt., Kicking Horse Mt., Eneas Mt., Conkle Mt., Hedges Butte, Apex Mt., Brent and Sheeprock Mt., Green Mt., Dividend Mt., Mt. Riordan, Mt.McLellan, Mt.Hawthorne, Keogan Mt., Mahoney-White Lake Grasslands Protected Area, Mt.Kobau, the South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area, Richter Mt., Mt.Baldy, Mt.Underdown, Mt.Christie, Eagle Bluff / Ocher Bluff, Skaha Bluffs, Little White Mt., Okanagan Mt. Park and numerous lakes and watershed along the way!
It’ll be a Grand Tour! Join the South Okanagan Trail Alliance today! As a bonus of SOTA membership, you’ll get to meet and work with some of the most dedicated outdoor recreationalists in the valley, gain free access to a wide variety of hand and power tools from our Tool-Loan program (including an irrigation compressor, which comes in handy each fall), enjoy unlimited access to detailed maps and GPS / Google Earth tracks comprising hundreds of Okanagan Valley trails via SweetSingletrack.ca, gain trail-day coverage under Canada’s most comprehensive insurance policy and become a member of the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC - along with all of the perks of FMCBC membership.
Upgrade Proposal for Fur Brigade Trail between Summerland and Peachland - The Central Okanagan Regional District is once again promoting / saving / building / signing recreational trail infrastructure in a big way! If you’ve read SweetSingletrack.ca, then you know that I really love the way those folks think. Their multi-decade-long push for additional front-country recreation trails appears to be boundless, and here is yet another example of this fantastic vision. Note that the map on that site is 'click to expand'.
New talks on a national park in the South Okanagan - The (political) pendulum has once again swung in favor of a National Park in the South Okanagan. This version leans more toward a status quo in use of the terrain, which has its benefits and pitfalls, depending on your point of view. It is however, likely the way things are going to roll if we’re to enjoy a National Park in the Okanagan.
New Year, New Camping Reservation System in BC - Not our regular topic of coverage, but as the vast majority of outdoorsy folk also love to get into the great outdoors overnight - it’s good to know what you need to be aware of as far as camping reservations throughout BC in 2017
Also not specifically trail-related... - (but kinda', as we've been tentatively asked to assist in the formation of a Mt.Baldy trail-club this summer). Mt.Baldy is offering full day ski passes at the jaw-droppingly low price of $5 per day on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the month of February. No, that's not a typo... $5 ! See details here
I've moved the "computer tip of the month" column to our 'Tips' Facebook page, as it seemed more at home there. Should you be interested, check it out.
That's a wrap for this month - spring is just around the corner so get your fix of all-things-winter recreation before it’s over. Hope to meet you out on the trails!
Welcome to the South Okanagan Trail Alliance Jan.2017 Newsletter
Welcome to 2017! Here’s hoping that this year brings amazing things for you and your family! (and more time out on the trails :-)
Celebrate the holidays by enjoying a new trail with your family - in this case, a seasonally-appropriate pair of new trails at Apex and Baldy Mt. Ski Resorts. I’m not referring to downhill and cross-country skiing, but rather, the latest craze ‘Fat-Bike’ winter trail riding. Both Apex and Baldy Mt. ski resorts have embraced this fun sport by grooming specialized Fat-Bike trails for your enjoyment.
Check out the new SweetSingletrack.ca Google Earth entry under Apex Resort Fat-Bike Loop and call up your local bike shops to rent yourself some Fat-Bikes! Baldy Mt. is grooming the frisbee course for your FatBike fix. Check out Penticton’s Bike Barn and Freedom Bike Shop, and in West-Kelowna, visit Outbound Cycle to grab a fatty’.
Campbell Mt. Trail Sanctioning - It appears as though our ‘Create a Municipal Park on Campbell Mt.’ campaign is beginning to bear some fruit. Penticton Council has voted to begin the process of applying to the Crown for a lease on those parts of Campbell which are Crown land. This is a step in the right direction; not the Municipal Park that we had envisioned, but “it’s a start”.
The South Okanagan Trail Alliance’s main goal is to see the mountain under City of Penticton management, which will allow the trails to be promoted as multi-use, non-motorized - which we support, as long as hike, bike, equestrian, trail-running, dog-walking and naturalist aspects of the mountain are equally supported and promoted - and that other important trail-groups such as the Trail Alliance, who have conducted countless hundreds of hours of work on Campbell Mt. trails, are not barred from trail-maintenance on this popular height of land. We encourage you to send email missives to your mayor and council to this effect by visiting this City of Penticton Contact Page.
FMCBC eNews - The Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC eNewsletter is ready to roll and this month’s issue covers the new BC Parks Future Strategy, a change of President (no, not that one), an intro’ to our newest member clubs, an article on BC Search & Rescue Drones and a whole lot more. Check it out here.
Locals Helping Locals - Long-time fellow trail-aficionado Dino Giurissevich is widely known as someone deeply involved in all-things-outdoor. During the winter, Dino operates Dino’s Snowshoe Tours, and I thought that I’d offer him an opportunity to introduce himself to you;
“If you are new to snowshoeing or have been at it for years, there is always something more to learn and new and exciting adventures to be discovered. From basic snowshoeing tips to winter safety, leisurely romps to steep and deep powder adventures - I offer these services and more - mainly in the Apex Nickel Plate Recreation Area, within which I’ve been recreating for 30 years.
If you require snowshoe rentals or wish to purchase top-of-the-line snowshoes, I offer that as well.
Why wait, winter is calling! -- Phone 250-809-1165 or email"
SingletrackMind Beer - We’ve secured an artist for the label of our SingletrackMind line of beer! Glenn Clark - local artist and recent winner of the Okanagan Artist of the year award, has stepped up to provide the artwork for our Cannery Brewing-South Okanagan Trail Alliance 2017 fund-raiser brew. Huge kudos to Glenn!
All Things Wilderness - Consider yourself lucky if you are fortunate enough to experience wildlife while out wandering the woods in the South Okanagan. A widely misunderstood part of that experience may include an encounter with one of our most common species, the coyote (Canis latrans). In order to dispel a few urban myths about this animal, I’ve recently been introduced to a YouTube video which delves deep into the world of the coyote. This is very much worth a look if you’d like to learn more about one of the most common animals that you share the forest with.
A Present from the Feds’ - As part of the Canada 150 celebrations in 2017, the federal government is making all National Park and Historic Area day-use passes free of charge! .Book your season pass here. The pass provides you and your family unlimited opportunities to freely enjoy National Parks, National Marine Conservation Areas and National Historic Sites across the country throughout 2017.
A quick blurb from me that I hope will help you and yours - As most of you know, I’m a Microsoft certified computer technician with several decades in the trade. I have been experiencing a higher than usual number of inquiries from clients about “calls from Microsoft / calls from the bank / VISA / Mastercard, calls from Revenue Canada and calls from the RCMP”…
I’d just like to strongly reiterate that none of these entities will ever directly call to tell you something is wrong with your PC or your account or ask personal questions. Microsoft certainly won’t call (ever), your bank or credit card company will call only to ask you to physically attend your local bank branch, Rev. Canada will mail you instructions on where to attend, and the RCMP… they’ll knock on your door if they wish to speak with you :-)
Please drive this home with your friends and family, especially elderly parents and relatives. I’ve heard several stories of Okanagan Valley locals being scammed financially - this nonsense can only be stopped through education. Questions, comments? Contact me at 250.486.2443, email@example.com or via our Facebook Computer Support site
Join the Club! - There’s never been a better time to join the South Okanagan Trail Alliance! We are a diverse group of trail-fans from all walks of life; hikers, cyclists, equestrians, naturalists and trail-runners who work toward sanctioning, signing, building and maintaining non-motorized recreational trail infrastructure.
Our club works valley-wide, mainly under Partnership Agreements with BC Parks (three South Okanagan Parks) and Recreation Sites and Trails BC (the Crown) on a large tract of land in the upper Carmi-Beaverdell area. If you are interested in meeting new people, light trail-work in beautiful natural settings and making a positive different in your community for the benefit of your friends and families, please join us in 2017. Our membership forms are available online by clicking here.
I hope to meet you out on the trails in 2017!
Welcome to the South Okanagan Trail Alliance's Dec. Newsletter... and what, ostensibly, will become winter any day now :-)
We’ve another load of trail-news and views to share with you, but first, the always-hotly-anticipated “new trail of the month”! This time around, I’m sharing a Christmas present with you - but one that you may not be able to unwrap until the spring! What? .Yup, unless this global warming thing goes wild in Dec., you'll need to savor thoughts of this route until then.
This month’s New Trail - is an alternate access to Little White Mt. that I’ve not previously posted in this newsletter series, but experienced with Dino and Frank this past summer. It offers an excellent hike, a very challenging mountain bike and an advanced-class equestrian experience for all who love the mountains!
Check out the updated Little White GPS and Google Earth download links as well as the text descriptions on SweetSingletrack.ca and note the newly added northeastern flank / Highland Trail access. This route follows the Highland Trail up from Canyon Lake, and is quite frankly, a lot less convoluted than the old trail up from the south as previously shown on SweetSingletrack.ca The slabs up top are amazing, the northern cirque and tarn is stunning and the 360 degree vistas off the summit are a thing of beauty!
The FMCBC / Outdoor Research Council Advocacy Program - to convince the BC Liberal Gov. to beef-up the BC Parks department has born fruit… just in time for the spring election no doubt, but, at least it’s happening. Check out this link for all of the recently announced changes to the BC Parks program:
Conkle Mt. Trails - On behalf of the Trail Alliance, I presented a proposal in support of sanctioning and signing the trail network on Conkle Mt. this past Monday to the District of Summerland Council of the Whole. This presentation was warmly received by the mayor and council, and I feel that this is a really positive step forward on this front. Five years in the making, but it looks to be picking up momentum! You may have a look at the entire proposal here: If you have any feedback on this, please contact me or, if you’d like to comment on this to council, their staff may be contacted via this link
A Smartphone App’ that helps you to report polluters and poachers - has recently appeared on the Apple iStore. I’ve not been able to locate a software equivalent on the Google Play App Store, but perhaps in time. Grab the free Apple edition here. As an added bonus, citizens that report an incident leading to a conviction could walk away with a $2,000 reward – here are the details
The FMCBC Nov. 2016 e-News is up - The Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC, our provincial affiliate and provider of our insurance policy produces both monthly eNewletters as well as our biannual Cloudburst print and online publication.
A New View - The next time that you're cruising the Campbell Classic trail, keep an eye out for our newly added relaxin'-vista spot on the northeast flank of the mountain. This little bench affords one a spectacular view over the gorge hosting Penticton Creek, as well as excellent vistas northeast toward Greyback Mt.
RDOS KVR (CP Rail Spur Line) resurfacing - The Trail Alliance was asked and provided a letter of support for a grant application which would see a complete resurfacing of the KVR between Kaleden and Penticton in 2017. We think that this is a grand idea! Several years ago we participated in the government’s KVR Conflict Resolution Committee, which eventually saw the resurfacing of the KVR between the Little Tunnel and Penticton. This stretch of the KVR is now one of the most popular and well-maintained stretches of rail-trail between Midway and Hope!
And there you have it, a fairly short monthly newsletter for a change :-) ..I look forward to meeting and greeting all of you on the trails. Snowshoe, ski, and FatBike season is coming on quick, and as much as it's accompanied by cold weather, I sincerely look forward to blankets of snow, animal tracking and all of the sports that go with winter.
Header Image: The New Campbell Classic Rest Spot, compliments of the Trail Alliance. Support your local trails - join the Trail Alliance!
Welcome to the Nov. SweetSingletrack.ca Newsletter - The Halloween Edition !
We’re experiencing some amazing color for outdoor exploration at the moment, so, as with every newsletter over the past few years, I’ve a new trail for you to check out!
Palmer's Trail - This one is a little beauty, and I mean little, as in 2.3km., return trip, and that’s if you explore the whole thing. It does however, open the doors to a great deal more exploration - if you can get across Penticton Creek… be mighty careful if you choose to do so!
At present, the creek is perhaps 1.5m deep, so a dry crossing is pretty much out of the question. I’d suggest waiting until at least late Nov. before you attempt this, should you be inclined to do so. Check out this link in order to learn more about Palmer’s Cow-Trail.
Big White to Build Mtb. Trails - It’s finally come to pass that Big White, the mountain that has previously played a distant second-fiddle to Silver Star as far as summer activities, has taken up the gauntlet and will soon be providing a great deal of excellent recreational trail infrastructure for the public. Check out this link for full details:
Campbell Mt. Southern Access - Five years of slow progress later, and we finally have some solid movement on the Campbell Mt. southern access project! We’ve met with environmental consultants, engineers, city officials and the general public. A recent sit-down with City of Penticton staff has brought twenty four thousand dollars to the table - money from the original developer for a project of this nature. We’re now at the point of issuing tenders for the job at hand in order to discern the balance of the funds required to see this project through. This will take some time as the city must entertain several quotes, but at least the proverbial ball is rolling. Will keep you up to date as things progress.
Council Presentation supporting Mt.Conkle Trails - Another of our long-term trail projects looks to see the existing trail infrastructure on Summerland’s Mt.Conkle sanctioned and signed. To this end, we’ve recently been invited to make a presentation to the Community of Summerland mayor and council. This takes place Nov.28th at 9am, for those interested in sitting in on the event. All of you are invited to collaborate with us on this project, should you have input that you’d like to provide.
Backcountry 101 - Tuesday, November 1 at 6:30 Pm - 8 Pm Join True Outdoors and the Backcountry Lodges of BC (BLBCA) for a free Backcountry 101 clinic! Whether you’ve already spent long days carving turns in backcountry powder, or you’re just considering venturing out for the first time, Backcountry 101 will have something for everyone. “Learning safe travel skills is essential for anyone who likes to enjoy activities in the backcountry” said Brad Harrison, BLBCA’s Executive Director.
The focus of this clinic is to help introduce equipment for safe travel through the backcountry in a winter environment, and where to go to learn the next steps.” Check this link for more details.
eBike article - Two major trail groups in the province with whom the government consults: The Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC (FMCBC) and the Outdoor Recreation Council (ORC) - both of which we are part, as well as the Provincial Trails Advisory Body, of who’s committee we sit on, and BC Parks, who we work with a great deal, are actively discussing the fate and future legislation related to eBikes on singletrack trails. To this end, I’ve linked to a recent article which may be of interest to those curious about the subject. If you have any input, please feel free to contact us via this email link and we’ll pass your thoughts along to relevant parties.
Fund BC Parks - Article - Both the FMCBC and ORC are actively engaged in a campaign to convince the BC Liberal government to increase spending on BC Parks. At present, a great many of the secondary parks in the province are in a state of disrepair, which is directly related to a distinct lack of funds available to park rangers and administrative staff. We’d like to see that change. We seek both increased funding as well as an expansion of the parks ranger program as a whole.
If you would like to read more on the subject, please see this link.
Campbell Mt. as a Regional Park - Yes, once again, I’m asking you, our dear readers, to vote for the establishment of Campbell Mt. as a new regional park. This long-overdue move will provide a family-friendly, signed and sanctioned recreational area for locals and tourists alike. It will include a proper parking area, washrooms, trail-kiosk and bike tools, much like what is in place at the Poplar Grove parking lot on Naramata Rd. Please take two minutes to register and vote for this excellent endeavor via this link.
Warren Miller's "Here, There and Everywhere" - As much as we dig dirt - literally - the South Okanagan Trail Alliance is also deeply involved with winter trails (xc-ski / snow-shoe and maybe soon, fat-tire bike) and as such, are keen on all-things-snow. We also love everything that Warren Miller has come up with over the years and are thus pleased to see that the latest W.M. show will be screening at Penticton's Cleland Theatre on Nov. 17th at 7pm., 325 Power St. Yet another burst of Powder from the master of adrenalin video! Details and Trailer.
Final thoughts - Most of you know that I’m a computer tech’ by trade, and that I enjoy helping others with these sometimes frustrating machines. As such, here is a tidbit for you to mull over.
The days of people writing virus software in order to destroy your PC’s operating system / programs / files is nearly over, with nefarious authors having shifted tactics to things like stealing passwords & identities and encrypting your PC, thereafter demanding money to unlock your files (!).
No matter how often one hears the mantra of “backup your data”, few actually do so. As such, here is my two-cents worth tactic on how to keep you data safe, without much ongoing input from you. Visit this site: https://www.idrive.com and sign up for a free, 5-GB service.
As long as you don’t go over the 5-GB data allotment, it's a free service forever! The secret is to avoid setting up the service to backup your music and video collection, as this will consume five gigabytes worth of data storage in short order. And this is what the 5-gigabyte ‘free carrot’ is really all about.
Instead, use the (encrypted) service to store only text based files, such as word processing, database, spreadsheets and the occasional picture folder. Which leads to the subject of hoarding pictures… but that’s fodder for another day.
If you have feedback on anything that you’ve read here, please don’t hesitate to contact us at your convenience via this email address link.
C U out on the Trails!
This month's header pic' was taken on a hike along Palmer's Trail this past week. Cue the Halloween theme... or maybe it's just because I was recently at an Alice Cooper concert and still have Welcome to My Nightmare stuck in my head :-)
Welcome to fall, with flair! We’re experiencing some of the best weather of the year right now, complete with splashes of color to make your already awesome trail experiences even more amazing.
This month’s “Trail of the Month” - The Summer Games trail. This recently rebuilt route has, for many years, provided access up the eastern face of Campbell Mt., but was generally too steep, which caused it to erode through water, wheel-dragging and wildlife walking the trail's edge. The local ‘Trail Gremlins’ (French & Italian alike :-) have seen fit to take the best parts of this trail and add switchbacks and reroutes where necessary, thus providing a rideable (challenging, but rideable) or hikeable - and perhaps even equestrian-friendly (for really advanced riders) route up the mountain.
The Summer Games trail runs from Morgenstern’s Gate, just off Greyback Mt. Rd., up to a plateau at 735 meters elevation on the southern end of Campbell Mt., nicely intersecting with the Campbell Classic trial. We’ve recently marked the trail with new, retro-reflective metal diamonds, making for safe route-finding. Check it out on SweetSingletrack.ca, listed with the 'Campbell Mt. - Full Data Set' link. There, I've color-coded it green in order to make it stand out on the Google Earth 'Campbell Mt. - Full Data Set' date file. The trail could be classified as 'Intermediate to Advanced-Intermediate', in difficulty in that there are tight corners and a few steep, punchy climbs, along with a lot of steep sidehill - which messes with some people's equilibrium...
Heavy-duty compressor for your fall irrigation blowouts - Fall is here and it’s time for the seasonal “to do” list; Fall Blowouts. Yet another benefit of membership; over and above the numerous high-quality hand and power-tools that you have access to via the club, is our large compressor - complete with all of the attachments required to conduct your fall irrigation blowouts. Bringing in a service company to do this will run you between $75 and $150. Use ours for a measly $20 donation to the club.
Update on the proposed South Okanagan National Park - This link will get you up to speed on all-things-National-Park in the South Okanagan (because a lot of you are asking about it these days).
Bike Work-Stand / Workstation available for member sign-out - A common refrain that we hear from riders is “I wish that I owned a bike-stand so working on my bike would be easier”. As such, we’ve elected to spend some club and SweetSingletrack.ca funds on a high-quality, collapsible / portable bike stand that we can share with club members who wish to sign it out. You may use the Park Tools PCS-10 Deluxe overnight, for a weekend or a road-trip. Contact us at 250.486.2443 or firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get your hands on this beauty!
SOTA at the Farmer’s Market - This past weekend marked our first 2016 appearance at the Penticton Farmer’s Market - where we completely sold out of trail-guidebooks (!), which added to the club’s trail-funds while providing a great deal of outdoor exploration to locals and tourists alike. In addition, we were able to promote the South Okanagan Trail Alliance and our ongoing program of “Campbell Mountain as a Regional Park”.
An Evening with Katarina Kostarova - Join Katarina Kostarova for an evening of photographs and information about the cycling and hiking trips she organizes and guides in Central Europe. For the past 3 years a number of Vancouver and Okanagan friends have joined Katarina on her two week cycling trips in Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland. They've happily cycled 35-60 km a day, visited interesting places, eaten delicious food and seen parts of these amazing countries under the friendly guidance of Katarina. Katarina lives in Bardejov, Slovakia and is coming to Penticton for a visit. While here, she'll be sharing her photos and trip plans with people who like to bike, hike and explore. Tuesday, Oct 18th, at 7:00-9:00pm at the Penticton Community Centre-Meeting Room. Contact Liz Wilson & James Cunningham for more information: email@example.com 250-488-9798 Kostarova@centrum.sk
CANCELLED DUE TO RAIN - - - Trail-Day - Saturday, Oct.8th 11am - Our Sept. Trail-Day didn’t go forward due to the Trail Alliance presenting at the Penticton Farmer’s Market (which was uber-successful!), so we’re making up for it by hosting a fix-up on the Rock Oven trail, near the junction of the WARD1 / Rock Oven trails (see map) in Skaha Prov. Park. There, the trail is water-damaged and overgrown, requiring some TLC.
As the vehicular service road up the Gillies watershed is washed out a quarter of the way up, we need to hike, bike or horseback up to the work-site. We have keys to the gate at the bottom of the service road, so we’ll be driving up as far as the washout, then hoofing / riding up beyond that point.
Please bring gloves, eye protection, sturdy hiking boots (or bike gear, if you’re riding up) and a shovel or rake and brush loppers / pruners. We have all of the above if you don’t, so please let us know if you need some kit. Meet up at the main Skaha Bluffs parking lot, near the kiosk / washrooms at 11am. The Trail Alliance will provide snacks and water for those in attendance. Bring a camera, as the vistas off the trail on the way up are fantastic! Check out this Trail-Map of the work-zone. Questions? Call Andrew at 250.486.2443 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The City of Penticton “Say How You Play” Recreation Poll - will soon close, and as such, we urge you to cast a vote for our ongoing “Campbell Mt. as a Regional Park” advocacy campaign. You can sign up [in under two minutes] and cast your vote here...
The Sept. Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC (FMCBC) e-News - Our favorite outdoor advocacy organization, the FMCBC has just released their monthly eNewsletter, and it’s full of great info’ for BC outdoorsmen and women. Check it out!
Until next month, we hope to meet you out there on the trails!
This month's header pic' was taken on a ride with Graham, Peter, Roly and myself through the Sage & Sparrow Conservation Area, in the South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area. If you are interested in this 20km hike / ride, drop me a line and I'll shoot over the Google Earth file...
Welcome to Autumn, Okanagan Style; perfect temps’, quieter streets and no bugs!
In keeping with our tradition of introducing a new trail each month...
The Sept. "New Trail" - is called Neverland; an addition to the northern edge of the Three Blind Mice trail network, which lies along the valley’s eastern slopes between Naramata and Penticton.
This new route was recently completed by Cabin Forestry Services with funding from the Canada 150 program. The route branches off from the Yellow Brick Rd. and climbs up to the Cow's End trail. Along the way, it both crosses and employs sections of existing singletrack. While the trail has been labeled as an easy ("green") route, this rating can be somewhat ‘flexible’, as several sections of the trail border on intermediate-class difficulty.
This is not so much due to pitch, but rather, the embedded rockiness of the trail surface itself. This is also not a knock on the crew who built it, but rather, a reality of building trails on the terrain which comprises the Three Blind Mice. I’ve always maintained that "there are no ‘Green’ trails in the Mice, just brief sections along intermediate-class routes which are a little easier to ride".
Experienced riders will see the route as green-to-dark-green, while complete novices will find it an intermediate-class challenge. The level of difficulty will increase over time as the dirt is compressed around the embedded rocks, creating a rockier surface. It’s a universal trail phenomenon; as the dirt surface is compacted, the rocks appear to rise out of it. In short, it's “sort of a green trail”, but don't bring your elderly parents or complete novices up for a ride.
I rode it both up and down, and descending is actually slightly challenging as well, due to numerous tight switchback corners. If this all sounds like a condemnation of the trail, it's not; just a reality-check for those who might be tempted to bring absolute beginners up this new “green-rated” route. I’ve added Neverland to the existing Google Earth (.kmz) and standard GPS (.gpx) files listed on SweetSingletrack.ca, under the current Three Blind Mice links. Check it out. Kudos to Cabin Forestry for another job well done and PACA for contracting them.
Test of Humanity - The annual Test of Humanity race goes Sunday, Sept. 18th. This excellent, well-laid out and conducted bike race event supports important humanitarian work in Africa care of our friends Nic and Shea. Check out details here.
The City of Penticton “Say How You Play” Recreation Poll - will soon close, and as such, we urge you to cast a vote for our ongoing “Campbell Mt. as a Regional Park” advocacy campaign. You can sign up in under two minutes and cast a vote here
Recent Trail-Day - Thanks to the efforts of eight dedicated trail-fans of all ages, we pruned out the Ellis Canyon trail top to bottom on Aug.14th. It’s a real beauty this time of the year, and will only get better as the Alpine Larch across the valley change color. DYK: Larch are part of the only genus (Larix) that has needles and is deciduous (drops ‘leaves in the fall)?
Next Trail-Day - Our next bit O’ Trail-Love happens on Saturday, Sept. 17th, when we’ll hike up WARD1 to the intersection of WARD1 and Rock Oven in order to brush-out and implement minor trail-surface improvements on the initial Rock Oven ascent. Cooler weather and total lack of bugs will make this a really great work session. The club will provide snacks and refreshments post event. Est. three hours including hike up / down. Bring gloves, sturdy footwear, eye-protection, a rake or shovel and clippers or loppers. Depart Andrew's home at 601 Braid St., at 11am. Call 250.486.2443 for more info'.
The Skaha Lake KVR trail surface - between Alder Avenue in Kaleden, north to Banbury Green Campground will be resurfaced August 29 through early September. Expect to see heavy equipment and delays associated with the trail upgrades. For details, please see this link
Lacoma Lake Trail Rebuild - I’ve recently been contacted by a group of chainsaw gremlins - who wish to remain nameless - to introduce themselves and inform the Trail Alliance that they have cleared the Lacoma Lake trail (northwest, off the Coquihalla Hwy., just outside of Peachland) top to bottom. They removed some 200 deadfall from across the route, added trail markers and completed minor surface remediation. This, some 188 man-hours of labor later, is a cause for celebration, as the trail is an excellent adventure and has seen little trail-love. The cash-strapped / understaffed BC Parks dept., whose purview it falls under, have let this beauty slip off the radar as well. See the Lacoma Lake chapter in SweetSingletrack.ca for details.
Freakin’ Farmer 2016 - Shout out to Mike and Lyndie at Hoodoo Adventures for their wild and crazy Freakin’ Farmer event, running this Sept. 24th at Covert Farms. Full details on their site:
Mt.Baldy Season Pass Pricing Announced - Though perhaps not generally considered ‘trail-related’, I wish to shower kudos on my favorite little ski hill - and excellent snow-shoe trail supporter - Mt. Baldy, who have just announced their mind-blowing season pass prices for 2016-2017. Adult: $199, Student: $99 and, get this, Senior $19. Nope, that is not a typo folks! Get your unbelievably-affordable season passes here
Skaha Bluffs Park Watch - is hosting an appreciation day to thank all of the people who have supported us this year and to celebrate the success of Park Watch: not a single vehicular break and enter since we started the program! Event runs Saturday, Sept. 3rd. at Skaha Bluffs Park, featuring a raffle with great swag from local businesses: Skaha Rock Adventures, Hoodoo Adventures, True Outdoors, Climbers' Access Society of British Columbia, Starbucks, SweetSingletrack.ca and more. $2.00 per ticket or 3 for $5.00. Need a new rope, draws or a guiding service? $5.00 will get you three chances. Come and say hello to our directors, park monitors, local business representatives and dignitaries.
The Federation of Mt. Clubs of BC / BC Parks Campaign - The FMCBC, our insurer and all-round fantastic outdoor recreation & advocacy group, are running a letter writing campaign to lobby for increased funding for BC Parks. We have collected quite a number of photos which show examples of issues which could be addressed if funding was increased. You can check these out in the FMCBC Facebook Album
We’ll continue to add more photos as we receive them so please continue to send your photos and descriptions directly to email@example.com. We would like the campaign letters to be sent before the end of September so that the government receives the message before budget discussions begin.
The message we’re suggesting is very simple. You can download a Word document version to help compose your own letter or you can participate in our online petition which sends a letter directly to the Minister of Environment. We are suggesting that people write to their MLA and / or the Minister of Environment and recommend BC Parks budget be increased.
This Victoria Times Columnists article succinctly sums up the problem(s) with BC Parks.
For more information on this project or the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC, please visit their homepage.
Trail Alliance Poker Derby - While we’re not known for race events, we have in fact been the organizers behind the two previous Poker Derbys in the Carmi-Beaverdell Recreational Trail Network (2010/2011). We’d like to host another in late Sept. or early Oct. 2016, but require some volunteer input in order to make it happen.
If you’d like to run a game-station (it’s kinda’ hilarious) for an hour or so during the race, then have the option of participating from your station onward, please contact Andrew at 250.486.2443 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Poker Derby course comprises five game-stations in a large, family-friendly loop, along a combination of dual and singletrack trails. Each station hosts a light physical or mental challenge for participants. At the starting line, runners / riders are provided five playing cards. As they make their way through the game-stations, they have the opportunity to better their poker hand by exchanging cards once they complete the station’s challenge.
Past challenges included throwing a basketball through a hoop while running or riding by it, throwing a frisbee through a ring of tires as they run or ride by, balancing on a ‘skinny’ for eight feet, answering a skill testing question, navigating an obstacle course etc. You think "this sounds easy". Past events have proven this to be "er, not so much...", but fun to watch folks try!
At the finish line, we lay down our cards and see who made the best hand. Prizes are bestowed upon the first, second and third best hands, and off we go to the deck of the Lost Moose Lodge, with it’s absolutely amazing vistas. This is set to be our best station of all; the post-event food and drink station!
Please get in touch if you’d like to see this great event run again in 2016. Until then, I look forward to meeting you on the trails!
Shameless Plug - Not many folks realize what it is that I do, over and above writing trailguides and wandering around the valley, GPS in hand... I'm a computer Tech' by trade, with 23 years of experience in the industry and both Microsoft and CompTIA (PC hardware) certification. Should you have a computer question, feel free to contact me at your convenience: 250.486.2443 email@example.com
Welcome to Summer - After '5-months-of-Spring'
My choices in trails these days lie in the cooler alpine. I suggest that you check out Apex Resort, SheepRock, Brent Mt., Kobau, Upper Carmi, Little White Mt., Big White - or this month’s alpine whopper; the South Okanagan Mt. Park Loop!
The August ‘New Trail’: This month’s new trail is a challenging hiker’s paradise, a route that I’ve dubbed the ‘South Okanagan Mt. Park Loop’. It consists of the Goat Mt., Baker Lake, Fredrick Creek and Kicking Horse trails, strung together into a 20-odd km. loop (depending on side-trips to local lakes it can run anywhere between 19 to 27km). Enroute, it summits, then nearly circumnavigates the summit of Okanagan Mt. proper. This route allows one to experience numerous mountain microclimates in one hike. Highly recommended, but very challenging and would be a killer under a blazing sun, as much of the tree cover burned off many sections in 2003. See the new entry on SweetSingletrack.ca, under Okanagan Mountain Park for details and GPS / Google Earth tracks. This is a ‘big-un’ folks, if you go there, prepare appropriately with extra time, food and water
The July Trail-Day: Trail Alliance members completed a post and fencing job near the bottom of the Beer Run trail on July 10th. A bit of post-hole digging, fencing and mini-trail-building later and we have ourselves a fully legit’ trail reroute in place. Thanks to private property owners, the RDOS and Naramata Parks board, the Beer Run now exits to the right of the old fence-hopping spot. Approaching the aforementioned ‘over-the-fence’ route, you’ll now find a short trail leading to a wooden-rail topped exit. The driveway beyond is also now open for our use as a component of the KVR trail interface. The bottom gate, at the KVR junction will be removed in the first week of Aug. We’ll also be working on clearing overgrowth and improving the trail surface for a kilometer above the new exit in the near future.
August Trail-Day: We’ll be heading to the Carmi-Ellis Canyon trail for a major pruning session. One of the Okanagan Valley’s most amazing trails is in dire need of some overgrowth removal. With a half-dozen or so helping hands, I believe that we can make it happen in under two hours - followed by munchies and ‘refreshments’… Meet at 601 Braid Street, Penticton at 10am, Sunday, Aug.14th. Bring gloves, hat, sunscreen, water, hiking boots, rake and hand-pruners or pruning shears / loppers. This is casual work with a spectacularly scenic canyon backdrop. This effort includes a max’. 1.8km trek.
Enhancing Public Access to Privately held Wildlands: This publication presents a case for legal passage through privately held properties. Local case-histories include 1) the now-closed Overton Trail, just off Green Lake Rd., which is only cut-off by the need to cross 200m of steep, uninhabited, mountain-side property. 2) Wild Horse Mt., which is cut off by a gravel pit and 3) Campbell Mt. south-east, which is cut off by private property. This topic is becoming more of an issue these days, and as such the Outdoor Recreation Council, along with all member organizations, including our very own Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC, are cooperating in the exploration of options.
Campbell Mt. as a Regional Park: Thanks to our readers, the City of Penticton’s “Say How you Play” Parks and Recreation Master Plan poll now features our very own campaign in first place, with 63 (current) votes in favor of creating a Regional Park on Campbell Mt.! “Thank You” to everyone who took two minutes to register and vote for this excellent goal. For those of you who didn’t vote, there is still time. Campbell Mt. as a Regional Park; let’s make it happen!
Speaking of Parks: The Outdoor Recreation Council of BC, along with the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC are building momentum in a bid to convince the BC government to add staff and funds to BC Parks across the province. This includes upgrading beaten-down infrastructure and roads in same. If you’d like to participate in this program, please pitch in with your camera; email the Trail Alliance photographic evidence of decrepit BC Parks infrastructure, along with a quick note describing where and when the picture was snapped. We’ll pass them along to ORC and the FMCBC.
Projects that we are working on behind the scenes: It’s taking a bit more time than we had originally anticipated, but the following strategies are slowly making their way through ‘the system’…
Backwoods Mama: Last, but definitely not least, I’d like to introduce you to Josée, aka; “Backwoods Mama”, a gal who I recently spoke with at our movie night double-header at Okanagan College. Josée writes a great online blog focused on young families, outings and all-things-nature. Through her missives, you can learn new trails while enjoying her excellent writing and high-quality photography of their families' adventures across the province.
Until next month, I look forward to meeting you out on the trails! And because a few have asked about the header pics' over the years; the Aug. header is a snap looking south from the western aspect of Okanagan Mt. Park - and the one below is from Upper Carmi, looking northwest.
July Trail Alliance / SweetSingletrack.ca Newsletter
New trail of the month - First things first: July’s "new trail" addition is a fairly new route known as “Travellin’ Man”. This is the latest thread in the web of trails which comprise the Smith Creek trail network in West Kelowna. I rode it this past weekend and came away impressed.
Officially-speaking, Travelling Man is only three-quarters complete, yet open to the public. As of this writing, it pops out onto the excellent Bad Santa trail, so I’m publishing it as-is until the bottom-most section beyond Santa’ is complete - likely this fall; I’ll update the trail status in the fall / winter of 2016.
In the meantime, feel free to check out the Smith Creek links on the Google Earth and GPX section of SweetSingletrack.ca,where I’ve added Travelling Man to the existing Smith Creek link. TM leads one into the northwestern sections of the Smith Creek riding area, which is ecologically unique compared to what you may be used to in this trail-zone. Recommend'o!
Campbell Mt. as a Regional Park - The Trail Alliance has been a tireless advocate for the conversion of Campbell Mt. into a regional park for several years, and now, with the City of Penticton pushing their Parks and Recreation Master Plan - “Have Your Say” campaign, there is no time like the present to push for this worthy goal!
More to the point, a whole lot of us would love it if you would cast a vote for our favorite: “Establish Campbell Mt. as a City Park, add picnic tables, pit toilets, signage and access to the southeast face” advocacy campaign that we’re running in the aforementioned City of Penticton program. See this link to learn what this is all about.
We’ve nailed down third place in the suggestion polls (out of 118 suggestions!) as I tap out this missive, and we’d (really) love to be atop the list in order to drive home to the City of Penticton staff how much we’d like to see this incredible recreation facility recognized, signed, sanctioned and protected!
Together, we can realize a beautiful front-country park right on our doorsteps! Top to bottom and circumnavigating trails already exist, all we need is a wee bit of infrastructure (parking / garbage / washrooms) some signage and sanctioning of the established trails, and we’ve got ourselves a regional park that will be the envy of the Okanagan - and a boon to outdoor recreation, health and fitness in our valley!
2016-2017 Edition of SweetSingletrack.ca - With all of the fanfare of Steve Martin yelling “The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here!”… I’m proud to announce that the latest iteration of SweetSingletrack.ca is hot off the press and available at an outdoor store near you! Clocking in at nearly 200 pages, this rendition of the Okanagan’s definitive hike, bike, walk, run and equestrian trail guide-book has been updated and expanded to reflect the latest and greatest trails valley-wide. Bigger, better and still the same excellent price as always!
Movie Night - Our AGM+ Movie Night was a success, “thank you” to everyone who was able to come out and support the club while enjoying a double-header movie night at Okanagan College.
Oliver Mt. Application Rec. Sites and Trails BC An application has been put before the Crown - via the Crown - which looks to establish a motorized recreation area on the lower, southern slope of Oliver Mt. (north of the treatment plant / community of Oliver). If you would like to have a say in this project, please contact Ian McLellan, Recreation Officer, at (250) 558-1728 or e-mail at Ian.McLellan@gov.bc.ca by July 7th.
Ron Hayman Jr. Classic - Our volunteer fundraiser, care of Hayman Sports, was a complete success! “Thank You” to Ron Hayman for the opportunity, and the 23 individuals who gave their morning to the cause. The event went off without a hitch, and the Trail Alliances’ post-event salmon and wine party was every bit the hit as well!
OK Falls to Kaleden KVR resurfacing - The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is requesting Submission of Proposals from qualified construction professionals to cost and complete a 4.2 km trail surfacing project and associated works between Kaleden and Penticton. The project has been divided in to five sections that are unique in scope with the priority to complete sections two, three and four and then one and five as budget permits. See this link.
July Trail-Day – For a variety of reasons and excuses, the small fencing and weed-whacking job at the base of the Beer Run trail has languished in semi-limbo for far too long. On Sunday, July 10th at 10am, we will head up and finish the project once and for all. If you are interested in joining us, please bring gloves, appropriate footwear, sunglasses and sunscreen, snacks and water. We’ll wrangle up a small post-event party at Manitou Beach as a “thank you” to volunteers. Contact Andrew Drouin at 250.486.2443 or firstname.lastname@example.org in order to learn more.
Win a BC Mountain Bike Trip! - Mountain Biking BC is putting together an amazing week long mountain bike trip that some lucky winner and friend will get to experience. Here's what's included in this prize:
• 7 days of guided riding by Endless Biking
• 8 nights' accommodation plus meals
• All transportation during the trip within BC
• $1000 cash to help get you here
• Ride with pro-freerider Geoff Gulevich!
This year they’ll be hitting up some of the new and old school lines of the Vancouver Coast region including the Sunshine Coast, Fraser Valley and the North Shore. You have to enter in order to win, so what are you waiting for? Entry deadline is midnight, July 10th. You must be 18 or older. Enter Here
Donation Shoutout! - A huge “Thank You” to a silent benefactor. I opened an envelope the other day and discovered a cheque made out to the Trail Alliance for the princely sum of $500 (!!!). As we are a nonprofit organization, we appreciate this kind of extremely generous support! We promise to turn this into wood, fasteners, hand-tools, chainsaw fuel / oil, and all of the things that make recreation trails so damned fun in the valley! Based on the return address, I also promise to limit my Alberta jokes from now on...
Cleanup Kudos! “Thank You” to Argo Road Mtnc. for voluntarily clearing up several dozen tones of garbage that was left in the forest up Carmi-Beaverdell this past month. In the Rednecks vs. people-with-morals-battle, we can use all of the help that we can get!
Join the Club! - Yup, promo’n the club, it’s what I do… There are countless reasons that joining the South Okanagan Trail Alliance is an oh-so-excellent idea, but the bottom line is this: the more people that join the club, the more amazing trail infrastructure we'll see appear in the South Okanagan.
The local bike club does excellent work in the Mice, but the Trail Alliance covers a heck of a lot more land and trails under Partnership Agreements. This includes Carmi-Beaverdell, from below the Lost Moose, all the way to the water reservoir near Rd.201, the Skaha Bluffs Prov. Park, White Lakes and Mt.Kobau Prov. Parks (!) . As such, we need your help in order to help you and your family enjoy the great outdoors.
A few hours of volunteerism per year is all that we ask, and in return we offer countless maintained kilometers of amazing singletrack at all elevations up and down the South Okanagan! The brief paperwork in order to join can be found here
And that, my friends, is it until next month. Please don’t forget to visit the Penticton Parks & Recreation site in order to vote for Campbell Mt. as a Regional Park!!!
Hope to see you out on the trails!
June Trail Alliance / SweetSingletrack.ca Newsletter
June Greetings, and welcome to Summer in the Okanagan!
Our ‘new’ trail’ this month - “Silver buck” isn’t so much a new trail, but rather, one that has been in place for several years - and sections of it, likely a millennia. As with many of our local trails, components look to be old wildlife wanderings. Right off the top - you need to know that this trail isn’t for the faint of heart. It's the kind of place that, should you take your novice, unsuspecting spouse, you may end up sleeping on the cold side of the bed for months... Yes, everything about the Silver Buck is a challenge. Don’t let the “green” / “easier” trail markers onsite fool you: there are no easy sections on the Buck! Rather, this small loop challenges you every meter of the way! Check out the new Silver Buck listing on www.SweetSingletrack.ca for text, maps and GPS / Google Earth files that will lead you to the trail-site.
Rock n’ Roll: Our take on a mini linear skills park - is signed and officially open for sessioning! What you’ll see onsite is the skeleton of what we’ll be creating there over the years. At present, it consists of a small jump, rock-roll, skinny, rock-roll, a-frame, rock-roll, pair of small & large ladders (with ez-out) and a final end-jump. We’ll be adding all manner of technical trail feature (TTF) fun to it as time passes. In the meantime, this low-challenge, well-constructed section of technical trail features offers fun in a safe environment. We’ve used pressure-treated lumber, set atop concrete blocks and drainage crush, assembled with galvanized fasteners. None of the TTFs are even close to black-diamond caliber, so high-risk TTF riders may not be amused...
The idea of this “skills park” was to provide a place for novice to intermediate riders to safely build their balance skills, especially on the 80-foot long ‘skinny’, which is a foot wide and a foot off the ground, with cleared fall-zones. You may find its location by clicking on this Google Earth file. The TTF zone ties into the intermediate-to-advanced-class Ellis Canyon Trail: (one of my all-time favorites) which roughly shadows the Beaverdell Rd. down to the Garnet Fire Interpretive Centre 4.6 km. below.
Head up to the 'top parking lot' on the Beaverdell Rd. (large, flat area on the right, approx' 12km up the Carmi-Beaverdell Rd.) then down the service road to the canyon lookoff / toboggan hill. 65m in, on your right, near a big crooked tree, is the trailhead. Use at Your Own Risk!
Skills Parks are not limited to mountain bikers. I’ve recently been made aware of an equine Skills Park located in Kelowna. Check it out here
2016 FMCBC AGM in Vancouver - Enjoyed an amazing Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC AGM in Vancouver this past weekend. Drove up Friday for the ‘meet n’ green’ (CODE for “Party!”) and absorbed a stream of consciousness related to all-things-trail on Saturday at the UBC campus, including numerous amazing presentations from fellow riders / builders / hikers / bikers:
Two speakers of special note:
- The Sunshine Coast Trail Society > Eagle Walz and friends constructed a 180 km (!) trail, complete with 12 back-country cabins (!) over the past dozen years.
- The Caledonia Ramblers > Manually hauled over sixty tonnes (!) of raw material into the forest in order to create a wheelchair accessible 1.4km long walkway & multi-km. planked path. Thus was born the Ancient Forest Interpretive Site.
We also heard from the Garibaldi Park 2020 group: and other individuals who are active components of our 37-club / 5200-members Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC.
Despite classic Vancouver rain on Friday and Saturday, Sunday morning dawned clear and warm, allowing me to explore the trail network right out the back door of the home where I stayed (thanks to Brian Wood and family, of the British Columbia Mountaineering Club for their generous hospitality!)
I used to think that Vancouver only offered nature in the form of Stanley Park, MEC and Capilano Canyon, but on this trip my eyes were opened to the UBC Endowment Lands and its companion rainforest, the Pacific Spirit Regional Park. These ‘forests within a city’ offer +50km of amazing family-class trails, twisting, turning and undulating through a giant rain-forest, all on firm, well-marked trails. Imagine the surfaced parts of the KVR as a winding ribbon through a redwoods and you get the idea.
Even for a guy who generally thrives on riding technical trails, I was blown away at the sheer beauty of the entire area. Cruise cedar and fern, steam rising from moss, pop out to Wreck Beach, back into the trail network, out to the Spanish Banks, back into the trails etc. I'm totally impressed!
Cannot say enough good things about the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC - they rock in every way. And hey!, the South Okanagan Trail Alliance and the Penticton Outdoor Club are co-hosting the 2017 FBCBC AGM right here in Penticton!
SOTA AGM & Movie Night - The room is booked, the movies lined up - mark your calendars! We’re hosting the South Okanagan Trail Alliance AGM and Movie Night on Monday, June 20th 7pm, at Penticton’s Okanagan College Theatre. AGM doors open at 7pm, movie starts at 7:20. Feel free to pop in for a no-obligation overview of all-things Trail Alliance at the brief AGM, or approximately 20 minutes later for the start of the double-header Movie Night. Movies include a 25-minute short doc’: Wild Pacific Trail, which provides the amazing story of Ucluelet’s Wild Pacific Trail, narrated by Jason Priestly.
The main feature is the British Columbia Mountaineering Club documentary ‘Passion for Mountains - 100 years of Preservation and Exploration of the Coast Mountains of BC', which runs a little under two hours. Profits from the $5 movie night will be split between the South Okanagan Trail Alliance (to pay for the venue) and the Penticton Women’s Shelter. Questions? Call Andrew at 250.486.2443 or email email@example.com
Ron Hayman Classic - We’re still seeking a couple of individuals to fill out our commitment to the Ron Hayman Classic youth bike race event. This comprises approximately two hours of volunteer time monitoring entrances to the course and demands no special skills or training. We’ve worked with Ron and Co. on this event in years past, and have always enjoyed pitching to - and we believe that you will too. The event helps to fund all-things-trail that the Trail Alliance is involved in, and as such, we ask that you consider pitching in with us.
Need some inspiration? How about a free year of access to SweetSingletrack.ca and copies of the 2016 print edition at wholesale cost? That, and the oh-so-warm-in-your-tummy feeling that you get from helping others is what we’re offering. :-) Questions? Comments? Contact Andrew at 250.486.2443 or firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.haymanclassic.ca/#!road-race/nccz0
Book Deal for past purchasers - The expanded / updated fourth edition of SweetSingletrack.ca is soon to hit the shelves and we’re offering a special deal for those who have purchased past editions of the publication. If you are looking to ‘upgrade’ your edition, you can purchase directly from us for a $5 reduction in price; that means $20 rather than $25 retail. Contact Andrew for details and access.
The BC Wildlife Federation’s Wetlands Education Program - Free 1 day Map our Marshes workshop on July 7th 2016. Participants will learn about wetlands, as well as how to map and steward wetlands in their community at this workshop. Get Connected to the Community Mapping Network. Identify and conserve small, unappreciated wetlands!
eBikes in the BackCountry - We’ve recently been contacted by concerned parties looking for public input on eBikes in the back-country. As such, we’ve spoken with bike shops, local riders and online denizens. We’d also like to hear your thoughts on this potentially divisive topic. Please visit our Facebook page and provide us your thoughts on the subject. This will be forwarded to the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC as well as the Outdoor Recreation Council: two of the main groups which influence government actions / laws related to backcountry recreation in BC.
And that’s it for June. Time to quit reading my ramblings and get out onto a trail near you!
May Trail Alliance / SweetSingletrack.ca Newsletter
Welcome to the May 2016 Newsletter. As usual, we’ve yet another new trail to share with you, as well as a pile of trail news and views.
New Trail: This month’s New Trail has been in place for a few years, but is largely unknown, despite being located on the otherwise well-explored Campbell Mountain. “Upper Decker” was constructed as an alternate way down from the summit of Campbell Mt., providing a vista-laden path around the eastern aspect, dropping to connect with the Campbell Classic route near the south end of Campbell Mt. Aside from one brief soft section, the trail is a beauty, made especially interesting in providing an alternate vantage point over the ‘backside’ of the mountain.
Check out the Campbell Mt. Full Data Set Google Earth file on SweetSingletrack.ca for details. The new "Upper Decker" trail is highlighted in green on this file.
Pared Down Mailing List: The mailing list has grown to epic proportions, but due to database size issues, I’ve elected to weed out expired accounts. As such, for those of you with expired SweetSingletrack.ca accounts, this will be the final newsletter that you’ll receive unless you email me and specifically request to be left on it…
April 30th Trail-day: I ride with a great group of people, collectively known as “The Wednesday Group”, who also contribute an annual trail-day to South Okanagan Trail Alliance (“Thank You” guys n’ gals). This year’s trail-day was a mission to complete a small linear skills park in the alpine (dubbed “Rock n’ Roll”), located atop the Ellis Canyon trail. Twelve men, women and ‘Charlie the trail-tester’ helped us complete the initial build. Once the route is properly signed for safety, I’ll publish it and invite all comers. Trail-days Rock!
A collection of small jumps, skinnies, ladders, a teeter and a section of new trail showcases some of the best-built technical trail features out there. Pressure-treated superstructures, galvanized bolts & nylocks, Hilti-fastened to rock and set atop drainage crush; the Trail Alliance’s commitment to safe, durable, well-constructed technical trail features is boundless!
Share The Trails Workshop: I’ve just returned from a weekend in Salmon Arm, attending the Horse Council of BC / Shuswap Trails Alliance hosted ‘Share the Trails Workshop’. The two-day event was attended by a large group of trail builders, maintainers, sanctioning bodies, First Nations, government representatives and landowners / managers from across western Canada.
As with previous gathering of like-minded individuals that we’ve attended over the years, this meeting allowed us to make excellent new friendships and connections with dedicated individuals from clubs region-wide, while learning what worked - or didn't, for their groups.
Post-event, I was able to explore some really amazing singletrack; the Rubberhead Mountain Bike trail system was built, maintained, signed and sanctioned by the Shuswap Trail Alliance.
Like everyone in attendance, the Shuswap Trail Alliance are tireless and determined in their creation of excellent trail experiences for all user-groups.
The Rubberhead Trails are new to my "recommended trail list". You can find maps of it here, and a Google Earth file representing my top-to-bottom intermediate-class descent here. I've been a fan of the Shuswap for decades, and that love was just enhanced another notch!
MEC Kelowna is open: Representatives from the South Okanagan Trail Alliance, along with staff from the Skaha Bluffs Park Watch Society were invited for a pre-opening event at the new location in late April. There, we ate, drank, drooled at all of the cool outdoor toys to be had… and listened to various and sundry speeches from dignitaries. This is a serious challenge to all manner of outdoor sport retailers in the Okanagan, and one which will likely see them focus on alternate brands and enhanced service.
Consider Joining the Trail Alliance: Yup’, I know, the proverbial broken-record, but as club president, it’s kinda’ my job :-) The Trail Alliance is the standard-bearer in the South Okanagan for all-things-trail, and in order to expand and improve same, we need your help.
Supporter / membership fees are low at $30 per year and benefits are huge!
We possess a large collection of hand and power-tools and a comprehensive library of books on the art-of-trails for loan, and provide the most comprehensive recreational insurance policy in Canada. Through Partnership Agreements with the Crown, City, BC Parks and private land-owners / managers, we sanction, sign, build and maintain legal trails across the breadth and depth of the Okanagan, providing recreational infrastructure for you and yours.
Join us today - we ask only one, three-hour session per year (or as much as you wish) as a commitment to the club and our excellent work. Participation provides a special kind of camaraderie and pride in enhancing opportunities for all-ages in the great outdoors.
The New Issue of SweetSingletrack.ca is only a few weeks away from the shelves of your local hike, bike and book retailers. We’ve added a collection of new trails and edited others to reflect changing access options, thus both keeping you on-track as well as expanding your trails knowledge base. Look for App updates this spring to reflect same.
May Trail-Day: Sunday, May the 22nd, 10am. We’ll complete a previously-started set of tasks on the bottom section of The Naramata Beer Run. The RDOS and a private land-owner have provided us with permission to erect a new fencing reroute, construct a gate system through an existing fence and brush-cut a section of overgrowth. We meet at 601 Braid Street in Penticton, figure our car-pooling strategy and head out. Contact Andrew at 250.486.2443 for details.
Call out for Help: The Trail Alliance have once again volunteered to assist the Ron Hayman Classic Youth Stage Race ( http://www.haymanclassic.ca ). In return, the event will financially reimburse the Trail Alliance, allowing us to acquire materials for future trails, trail-structures, signage etc. In other words; create better trail-experiences for you and yours.
Our ask is for a couple hours of your time on June 12th in Oliver:
This is me, asking you, my friends, to step up and help Ron, the youth and the Trail Alliance, all at the same time, with an easy couple of hours of fun in June. Please contact me at 250.486.2443 for further information.
Ok, that was a rather long missive! Tune in next month for news on the upcoming Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC AGM in Vancouver, our meetings with the South Okanagan Similkameen Parks Society, a‘Special Deal’ on the new edition of SweetSingletrack.ca for purchasers of pervious copies of the book and a whole lot more trail news! In the meantime, get out there and enjoy this amazing valley!