South Canyon Trail


Welcome to the April 2018 South Okanagan Trail Alliance Newsletter


We’ve another trail for you to check out, as well as loads of trail news and views! Let’s kick it off with an alternate route on the south-eastern slopes of Campbell Mt. - one of my favorite local trail-haunts.


Campbell Mountain’s 'South Canyon Trail' offers a change of pace to the standard Campbell Classic loop, while providing some absolutely amazing canyon-side vistas!

While several access options exist, I’d suggest it be approached via the Summer Games trail - described in the Oct., 2017 Newsletter (scroll way down to read that post). Once you’ve attained the first look-off bench, continue east along the Campbell Classic loop trail until you arrive at the South Canyon trail-head.

This point is visibly unmistakable, in that you’ll find yourself approaching a section of trail where the canyon to your right drops away sharply. The South Canyon trailhead is signed at present with an orange retro-reflective marker on a stick in the ground.

There you’ll notice a small trail leading down on your right, heading east, then due south. The trail meanders just under 4km, eventually rising to join the southern extent of the Campbell Classic trail; aka “The Whoop”.

This canyon-hugging trail offers amazing vistas and is highly recommended. Keep a close eye on pets and kids, as the cliffs are steep!

I’ve not added a new chapter to in order to present this route. Instead, I’ve simply updated the Campbell Mt. - ‘Full Data Set’ file listed in the Google Earth section of

The South Canyon trail appears in bright green in the complete file set. I’d suggest that you download and examine the file in Google Earth in order to familiarize yourself with this trail before heading out.



Regulation for electric bikes may forever change BC Controversy on on the topic of eBikes rises with the first flowers each spring, and this year is no different. Here is the latest info'.



BC Parks hiring junior staff If you or someone that you know has ever sought to work for BC Parks as a summer job, this might be your year. BC Parks has just announced a Student Ranger Program, which will employ seasonal youth staff for 2018 / 2019. Check out this link to learn more.



Our friends at Cabin Forestry are hiring trail-techs' If you've ever wanted to get paid to enjoy trail-building, this might be your calling. These folks are cool; we've worked with, and attended courses with them over the years.



Hidden gems 6 awesome campsites in BC Keen to camp in BC this year, but not sure where to start? Mountain Equipment Co-op has provided a half-dozen excellent recommendations in their ‘Hidden Gems’ post:



Regular Exercise after 50 I never cease to be amazed by the 70+ crowd that I hike / bike with. They are spry enough to shame many 30-somethings, and keep going strong, year after year! This Edmonton Journal article highlights the mindset by which you can retain your strength and vigor for the long run.



Tree Canada (App) While exploring the forest, I often find myself trying to identify various plants, especially trees; likely because they are generally huge, and one might assume them to be the easiest to ID. In reality however… “not so much”.

I’ve often been stumped (pun) ID'ing trees, and most of the field-guides that I’ve referenced feature imagery that is simply too small to be of assistance.

Enter Apple Apps. I’ve recently been using an App called Tree ID Canada, which assists in the identification of some 442 trees, shrubs and bushes. It breaks down identification by shape of the tree, shape of the leaves, flower color, leaf position and a number of other descriptors. I’ve found it to be notably accurate - and zoomable!



Okanagan Similkameen Parks Society 53rd AGM The Okanagan Similkameen Parks Society's AGM takes place in Summerland on Friday, April 20 at 7:00pm at the Centre Stage Theatre, next to Summerland Secondary School. The main topic of the evening will be water and the documentary “A River Film” will be screened about the Okanagan Basin.

Displays dealing with timber, as a critical aspect of hydrology, will also be available. The AGM is open to the public free of charge, but donations are welcome. Contact Ian Graham at

- We've been OSPS members for the past half-dozen years, and I highly recommend that you check them out. These are the folks who lobbied for, and created many of the excellent parks in our valley!



Membership Drive: It’s that time of the year again... We’re welcoming individuals, couples and families from our community who love nature-based recreation and giving back to their local trail community, to join our club!

For barely the price of a good bottle of Okanagan Vino’ you can assist the South Okanagan Trail Alliance in providing your friends and family countless amazing trail-based recreational opportunities - and vistas that'll swell their hearts!


Benefits of membership in the South Okanagan Trail Alliance include:


trees Camaraderie with those of all ages who also love the great outdoors

trees Free access to, a comprehensive online trail-guide

trees Membership in the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC

trees Insurance. Accidents happen, we're prepared!

trees Project Funding. Have a project idea? Funds are available

trees Opportunity to write for the FMCBC biannual publication, "Cloudburst"


If you’d like to be part of the South Okanagan Trail Alliance, all we ask is that you volunteer one morning or afternoon per year to trail maintenance. This may include erecting signage, clearing trails or simply hiking in the forest in search of trail issues, then reporting them to us. Work commitments above this are at your discretion.


Here is our online application form (print and send, drop off or scan and email us)


We occasionally post our trail-exploration days (hike / bike) on our Facebook page. Check us out in case you might be interested in 'spontaneous adventures' :-)


Most trails are a wee bit muddy right now, so we recommend sticking to recreation above the snow line, or in the valley bottom - everything in between can be a bit mushy and easily destroyed...

Some south facing trails are a-ok. The South Canyon Trail, introduced herein, is 99% rockin'.


Get out there my friends!


Andrew Drouin

President: South Okanagan Trail Alliance







Kelowna Nordic Centre Trails


Welcome to the Jan. 2018 South Okanagan Trail Alliance Newsletter



Eight days in and it still feels kinda’ odd to be writing the number “2018”. Happy New Year to all of us; another trip around the churning ball of hydrogen and we’re still kickin’ - that’s something to celebrate right there!



This Month’s “New Trail of the Month” is a whopper! - It’s actually a -pair- of large trail networks, created by the Kelowna Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Club (aka: McCulloch Cross-Country Ski Trails Recreation Site). This large, nested and overlapping snowshoe trail network will definitely take a few days to explore!

Log into and check out, learn about, and download tracks for these amazing all-season recreational trail networks! Tis’ the season for xc-sking and snowshoeing, and the tireless volunteers at the Nordic Centre have built beautiful cabins and warming huts throughout the trail network, including dog-friendly xc-ski and snowshoe routes to enjoy with friends, family and pets!

I’ve been paying a lot of attention to South Okanagan trails of late, and somewhat ignoring our trail friends in the Central Okanagan. I guess that comes with the fact that I live in the South. Hopefully I’ve remedied this lapse of trail-love with this outsized post. You'll notice that the xc-ski and snowshoe trails are broken down into two separate files. This is due to the sheet quantity of trails in the area. Displayed together they tend to resemble spaghetti thrown at the wall :-)

Note also that highlights West Kelowna's Telemark Nordic Trails as well as the Nickel Plate Nordic Centre, the McKinney Nordic Ski Club and numerous other xc-ski / snowshoe trail networks in the valley.




SOTA Snowshoe FUNdraiser / Membership Drive - Dino Giurissevich has offered to arrange a very special snowshoe trip up to a secret trail known as “The Three Bears” for the Trail Alliance's 2018 kickoff FUNdraiser on Jan.27th at 10am, car-pooling from the parking lot at the Fairview Centre Mall. This three-hump ridge line, located north of Riorden / Beaconsfield (Apex Ski Resort) offers excellent vistas and perspectives on the area, unattainable from other vantage points.

Funds generated at this intermediate-difficulty level, 5-6km. / 3-3.5hr. snowshoe event will be applied to old and new trail-work, maintenance and signage in our Partnership Agreement lands: the Upper Beaverdell Rd. area, Skaha Prov. Park and the South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area.

The cost of this event - which includes annual membership in the South Okanagan Trail Alliance and by way of that, membership in, and insurance coverage by the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC (FMCBC) - is a mere $30. In other words, for the price of a couple of beer and a burger you can help the Trail Alliance and the FMCBC in so many ways, meet like-minded outdoors men and women and experience a new route to vistas-galore - now that’s a great deal!

The icing on the proverbial cake is that all Trail Alliance members are automatically provided full access to - offering by far the largest collection of downloadable hike, bike and equestrian GPS / Google Earth trail files in the South-Central Okanagan! With this database, you can log in via a smartphone or computer, tap a link and automatically see where you are on the trail, and monitor your progress in real-time!

The snowshoe outing is limited to twelve participants, as such, if you’re interested in joining us for this event, please contact Andrew Drouin at 250.486.2443 or ASAP in order to assure a spot in this FUNdraiser event!




A DYK about Hibernation (specifically, black bears) - I love nature, and I love science. Put them together you and you have an insatiable curiosity about life - especially wildlife! As one who assumed that bears sleep all the way through winter, without waking and leaving the den, this 3:18 mini-doc’ was an eye-opener. Something to ponder this winter while roaming the highlands. The link provided above points to but one of a cornucopia of Untamed Science video clips, safe for folks of all ages to learn and enjoy!




Outdoor Recreation Management Diploma - Its a wonderful thing that folks who wish to make a career of the great outdoors have so many options and opportunities these days. This includes excellent curriculum such as Capilano College's ORM Diploma program.




And that's our first Newsletter of the new year (I realize its brevity is somewhat of a record for me :-) I hope that 2018 brings you out to hike, bike, horseback ride and perhaps even do a wee bit O' trail-building / maintaining with us in 2018. Would love to see you out for our FUNdraiser / Membership snowshoe adventure!




Andrew Drouin

President: South Okanagan Trail Alliance







Morel Loop


Welcome to the Dec. 2017 South Okanagan Trail Alliance Newsletter


It appears that winter has finally set in, which is great, as it’ll open all kinds of winter trail recreation activities!


New Trail of the Month: The Morel Loop - Located approximately 14km. west of Summerland, along Bathville Rd., is the blood, sweat and beer result of Dino G.’s handiwork.

Dino has toured groups of us around the trail loop on numerous summertime mountain bike excursions over the years, and I suspect that due to its elevation (1055m. / 3461ft.), it’ll also make a great winter showshoe / nnnbc-style xc loop during decent snow-years. Kudos to Dino for promoting and maintaining this great 6.6km loop, as well as the Spring image file above.

BTW, if you seek a knowledgeable guide for some snowshoe adventures this winter, you might want to drop Dino a line.

Log into in order to download Google Earth / GPS tracks and explore this fantastic singletrack loop.


Wintertime Backcountry Safety - As snow builds in the mountains many of you will be itching to get up there for fresh tracks - the kind of which cannot be found at local ski resorts! For the backcountry adventurous among you, here is a tool that will be critical to your bag of tricks: Avalanche Canada’s Map and Info’ site. Don’t miss their Backcountry Resources’ link on that site as well.

Along with this, I’ve included a bit of movie-time for you. Check out BCA’s educational video series. and Utah Avalanche Centre's ‘Know Before You Go’ (filmed in ‘Redbull-style’). If that's still not enough movie-time for ya’, here’s a serious reality-check: “A Dozen More Turns” - A doc' by Amber Seyler about backcountry skiing, avalanches and how the human factor can have dire consequences.


Dr. Andrew :-) suggests - getting out into nature every single day, as it's a serious bit of medicine for the workings of your brain: and real doctors agree.


A helping hand for our fellow outdoor-keepers - If you’ve been keeping up with the Trail Alliance, you know that we are also keen ‘keepers of the forest’, so to speak. This generally manifests in mountain dumpsite cleanups, alongside our regular trail-related tasks. What you may not know is that there exists a keen group just north of us, known as the Okanagan Forest Taskforce who are as serious about forest cleanups as we are, and then some!

Kane, their lead-organizer, has asked for volunteers to conduct a forest cleanup in Westbank on Sunday, Dec. 17th at 9am - weather dependant. You can contact them for more info' via this link.

I’ll be heading up to meet them and lend a hand on their latest project of cleaning our favorite recreational areas after braindead idiots took it upon themselves to toss their garbage in the forest. If anyone would like to come along for the adventure, please contact me in the next few days. 250.486.2443 This will be a great opportunity to meet fellow outdoors men and women who really care about the environment, while doing a good deed for the land, the animals and your fellow outdoor recreationalists.


Indoor Winter Recreation - As many of you know, our friends over at Hoodoo Adventures have created a fantastic indoor climbing gym at 131 Ellis Street, in Penticton. If you’d like to experience the buzz of rock climbing in a warm padded gym, prepare to visit Hoodoos by checking out MEC’s “How To Start Rock Climbing


New Front Counter ‘BC Loader’ File - A while back, I provided you with a link to a BC Gov. Google Earth overlay file, which in concert with the free Google Earth application, provides a quality overview of land management and ownership in BC. This tool is immensely helpful in avoiding private property as you explore the South Okanagan. That original overlay Google Earth file has been discontinued and replaced with a new version, thus any copy that you were previously using will soon cease to function.

The replacement overlay file is a bit more detailed in its content and requires a slightly closer ‘hover-level’ (or what Google Earth refers to as “Eye Alt”) above Google Earth than the last version in order to reveal parcel ownership detail. Here’s the new link. Note that you’ll want to have a fairly modern / powerful computer in order to use this file, as it pushes PC hardware and Google Earth hard.


FrontLines Podcasts: Kudos to Trail Alliance member Cameron, for his link to this excellent audio PodCast, by and for trail-builders, about all things trails and trail-building (yes, it’s that unique) Enjoy!


Public Input on the Land - The Trail Alliance has been contacted by a representative of the McTaggart-Cowan Wildlife Area. We’ve been asked to provide input on potential recreation opportunities on the lands indicated in the accompanying link. I’ll be submitting a complete set of GPS tracks representing everything that I’ve ever published in the area, but I welcome you to also provide us with any input / feedback on same, so that we may pass it along to them.


The SweetSingletrack Apple and Android Apps have been updated - Download the latest versions for Apple and Android from the App’ Store and the Google Play Store. This update fixes quirks with tracking in the original App’ plus a new trail or two! Website Access Renewals: It’s time again to think about supporting the work of the Trail Alliance and via subscriptions to our amazing trail catalog.


Subscribe to for a 'Christmas-Present-Price' of $10.00 for two years (half-price) eMail me for details We add ten to twelve new trails to the catalogue every year; most of which you won’t find on any of the many free trail-sites online - neither TrailForks nor Strava!

We discover, build, maintain, sign and sanction trails all year round’ and love to share them with you. This level of trail-love-commitment requires a wee bit O’ coin however, as vehicle and chainsaw fuel, lube, maintenance, hand-tools, new saw-blades and chips n’ beer to bribe trail-workers takes a few bucks per year.

A great deal of advocacy work also happens behind the scenes, lobbying City, Municipal, Provincial and Federal governments, as well as private land owners / operators on behalf of public access to trails and trail networks. This advocacy often includes travel around the province to attend meetings and seminars.

We cannot do it all on our own, thus we’re asking for your fiscal and physical buy-in to the projects known as and the South Okanagan Trail Alliance.

Sign up using this link or snail-mail us payment to: 601 Braid Street, Penticton BC V2A 4Y6


Personal 'Presents' - For the month of Dec., my computer tech' support rates will be half price (!) at $30.00 per hour. This runs from today until the 31st of Dec. only. Drop me a line or call me at 250.486.2443 in you’d like to learn more or even just to pick my brain.


Did You Know - that how you define the first day of winter depends on if you mean either the astronomical or meteorological winter. The meteorological winter begins on December 1st 2017 and will end on February 28th 2018. The meteorological seasons consists of four periods made up of three months each. These coincide with our Gregorian calendar and make it easier for meteorological forecasters to compare seasonal statistics. By this calendar, winter always starts on December 1.

Meanwhile, the astronomical winter begins on December 21 2017 and ends on March 20 2018. The astronomical calendar determines the seasons because of the Earth’s tilt in relation to its orbit around the sun and both equinoxes and solstices are related to this).

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you. Now, push yourself away from the computer and get outside!


Andrew & Louise (and Coda)







Welcome to the Nov. 2017 SST / Trail Alliance Newsletter


And though autumn is still upon us, winter waits at the door… This week looks to offer the last bit of 'beauty weather for a stretch, so I’d suggest making every excuse possible to get outside. Work is necessary, yes, but the counterbalance of spending mental rejuvenation time in a fall forest is absolutely priceless!


This month’s New Trail of the Month - is a completion of a new, two-part build in the Three Blind Mice trail network northeast of Penticton. The local bike club, PACA, in cooperation with Cabin Forestry Services of Vernon, have completed the second section of the new Neverland trail, which began last year and offers a much easier route to ascend the Three Blind Mice from just below mid-mountain, all the way to the top of the trail network.

There is a catch however; you cannot [ride] the upper section of this trail for the time being, as it’s fairly new and not quite fully firmed up (and is likely snow-covered at the moment). You may however, hike, walk, snowshoe (soon!) etc. the entire route. Honoring the bike closure on the upper section, whose entrance is well-marked, is a courtesy that we must extend to the trail community. Please respect this temporary bike closure until the spring / summer of 2018.

Foot-traffic will help the trail pack down. Riding… not so much. You may access the bottom of the Neverland trail just beyond the southernmost switchback along the Yellow Brick Rd. trail or via the new Rusty Muffler parking lot off Arawana Rd. Maps of the Mice are available in many locations online as well as through Login and check out the links for the Three Blind Mice. The upper and lower sections of Neverland are highlighted in bright green on the downloadable Google Earth map in order to draw your eye, as the Mice trail network is complex.


Our Trail-Day in Skaha Prov. Park was a success - We rerouted a particularly nasty bit of erosion-prone singletrack, creating a few more fun, swooping turns along the Sauerkraut trail in the process. Take it easy as you descend Sauerkraut, as you’ll find some new trail just above its terminus with the WARD1 trail.


We made fast work of an Illegal Garbage Dumpsite - at the Carmi-Beaverdell Recreation trails this past weekend. Thanks to the assistance of the Upper Carmi Residents Association and friends, we cleared the forest of eighteen extra-large garbage bags of trash totaling some 617 pounds, left behind by squatters, then ripped apart and widely distributed by wildlife. This is one of the main problems with squatters in the forest: they tend to not clean-up after themselves. We understand the issues around homelessness, but their tendency to make a mess and walk away is what gets them into conflict with others who enjoy forest recreation.


The Nature Trust of BC has produced an excellent website to showcase their projects and land. Visit the site and scroll or click to zoom until the black dots on the map change to shaded area maps. This map will help outdoor recreationalists to determine future outings. Note that shaded areas can also be clicked to provide additional detail of that zone.


New potty at the Garnet Fire Interpretive Centre - It was a long time coming, but we’ve managed to beg / coerce Rec. Sites & Trails BC into providing an outhouse at the Garnet Fire Interpretive Centre. But beware, as it’s a “user managed” system, which means that one needs to bring one’s own TP!


A New National Park? - The federal, provincial government and local First Nations announced last Friday a recommitment to creating a national park reserve in the South Okanagan. The Minister responsible for Parks Canada Catherine McKenna was in Osoyoos for the announcement. "A new national park reserve in the South Okanagan would protect one of Canada's iconic natural and cultural landscapes and provide opportunities to share this inspiring place with Canadians and visitors from around the world," said McKenna. The idea had previously drawn opposition from some backcountry users, however, a recent Castanet Poll indicates that there is a majority in favor of a National Park in the South Okanagan.


The Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC Oct. Newsletter - Our very own, extremely awesome FMCBC has also just released their Oct. 2017 Newsletter. It touches on many subjects outdoor-related, including Trail Alliance articles on the understaffed BC Conservation Service and front-country access in the Okanagan. Check it out here.



And that’s it for this month my friends. I hope that you can find every possible excuse to hit the dirt before it snows – and look forward to the skiing and snowshoeing thereafter. Questions / comments? Contact me via I’ll tap at cha’ again in Dec. If anyone has any amazing winter recreation routes that they’d like to share with the rest of us, please drop me a line.






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Welcome to the Oct. South Okanagan Trail Alliance Newsletter



It’s been a few months since I last sent out a newsletter - everyone needs a break from typing now and then - but this one is jam-packed with trail news and views.


New Trail of the Month: As per usual, let’s kick this newsletter off with a 'new trail of the month' - in this case, a series of oldies that have been reorganized into something amazing: "Climax"!

The extreme northern extent of the Skaha Bluffs Prov. Park climbing area has been a local haunt for decades with its countless winding trails, but the quagmire really lacked a cohesive flow; it was more or less a disjointed network of pathways. Recently, unknown souls have taken it up on themselves to connect bits and pieces into a nice ascent / descent. I’m not aware if the upper (red rock marked) section has a title, but I know that the lower (blue rock marked) section was recently dubbed “Climax”.

Not being one for trails that change names midcourse simply for the sake of someone ‘getting to name’ a new section, and the lack of actual signage, I’m going to refer to the entire route as “Climax”.

Together, they comprise some 861ft of elevation change. Log into and click on the new ‘Climax’ links to learn all about this amazing technical trail! Consider this to be an advanced-intermediate bike or an easy-to-intermediate hike. A large array of side-sloped rock faces renders it not so equestrian-friendly.


Potential for additional Recreational Parkland: directly related to the new trail described above, the City of Penticton have been offered an opportunity to expand the city boundaries to include a new subdivision, in exchange for a large ‘gift’ of land to the Skaha Bluffs Prov. Park.

While I don’t yet have details on what this entails for taxpayers / City of Penticton responsibilities, the general gist of it is that the developers are willing to donate land to be converted to parkland - with the specific caveat that it remain open to non-motorized recreation, with conservation values. This, as opposed to a focus on pure conservation, as is most of Skaha Prov. Park - to the detriment of recreational trail networks.

Read the article linked here and attend the public meetings set for Sept.27th, 2-5pm, at the Penticton Seniors' Drop-In Centre; Sept. 30th, 9am-12pm, at the Community Market and October 5th, 3-7pm at Wiltse Elementary School.


Advocacy and Trail-Building: Three months of absolutely no rain, and thus, an extreme fire hazard rating, has severely curtailed our trail-maintenance and trail-building this summer, but we still managed to get into the alpine and conduct a Backcountry Cleanup Day in the Carmi-Beaverdell area. The South Okanagan Trail Alliance, in partnership with the Upper Carmi Neighborhood Association removed several thousand pounds of trash from the forest this spring. In addition, club members conducted numerous small-group hand-pruning sessions in the Carmi XC and ‘Carmi East’ trail network, as well as the Crow Pass, WARD1, Sauerkraut, Ellis Canyon, Jamie's and Wright's Passage trails (tnx. Andrew, Magda, Dave and Stacey!)


We are set to conduct a Trail-Day in Skaha Prov. Park on Saturday, Oct.28th, in order to remove a section of eroded singletrack and replace it with a sweeping set of flowing turns. Please consider joining us at the upper parking lot in the Skaha Bluffs at 10am. Click here in order to see the meeting area on Google Maps.

The work-site is a mere 10 minute walk up the trail from the parking area. Bring a wide hoe, flat-blade shovel, McLeod or rake. A small brushing hand-saw or sturdy clippers isn’t a bad idea either, along with hiking footwear, gloves, eye-protection, water and snacks.

The task runs 10am to noon, and then we’re off to the nearest pub for brew and munchies! Contact me at or 250.486.2443 for additional details.


The Conservation Service Needs ‘a Nudge’: The Carmi XC Recreation Trails, located along Beaverdell Rd. have been experiencing a serious problem with a large group of squatters on the trail network for the past three months. Their garbage has been dragged into the forest by wildlife, where it’s torn apart and spread widely throughout the area…

The Trail Alliance has followed the standard rules and reported this issue to all levels of Recreation Sites and Trails BC (who manage the signed and sanctioned lands upon which the established trails lie) as well as the Conservation Service, which is responsible for enforcing squatter and littering laws on Crown lands.

Unfortunately, after months of this process, none of our reports to same have been acted upon or even acknowledged by the Conservation service branch (!) As such, I turn to you, my outdoorsy friends, in the hope that you can help us out by providing an overwhelming series of reports to R.A.P.P about this issue - so overwhelming that the Conservation Service cannot help but to act on the problem.

If you’d like to witness this nasty bit o’ mess yourself, please visit the site, located a mere 200 meters into the Carmi XC trails trailhead. Here is a Google Maps link to the parking area, just shy of the squat:

Reach the spot in question by driving up the Carmi-Beaverdell Rd. 11.7km., to the large parking area on your right hand side. Cross the road to the north of the parking area and walk in. Less than 200m on your left, you’ll see their encampment, a few dozen meters further along the main trail, you’ll begin to witness their widely scattered garbage… You can call the ‘Report all Poachers and Polluters hotline at 1-877-952-7277 as well as visit the web-based reporting page here. We ((emphatically)) encourage you to do so… Thank you!


Flashless, Night-Vision Trail Cams: With a generous financial grant from the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC, we’ve rolled out a number of flashless, night-vision trail-cams in several locations in the alpine, in a bid to catch morons who dump garbage in the forest!

With a little patience and a modicum of luck, we’ll have some images to present to the RCMP and the Conservation Service in the near future!


KVR Book Recommendation: Many of the readers of this newsletter reside in the Okanagan Valley, but beyond the marketing hype, how many of you know the history of one of our greatest assets: the KVR? I thought that I had a pretty good concept of the thing, but after reading ‘McCulloch’s Wonder’, I’m amazed at all that I didn’t know about it. I learned more about the history of the KVR and the many other railroads and railroad companies that came and went in the 19th and 20th century in BC than I could have imagined. I’ve a copy at hand if any members would like to borrow it, drop me a line (


The “Voluntary” Backcountry Closure is over: Thankfully, after a wee bit of rain, and much cooler weather, we can once again freely recreate (and work!) in the great outdoors throughout the Okanagan Valley. Get out there on the dirt my friends!


Campbell Mountain Trails: We’ve been incredibly patient on the issue of signing and sanctioning the trail network on Campbell Mt., as well as the long sought after southern access to same - but six years later, we still haven’t seen a single move on behalf of the City of Penticton to push this forward.

As much as I hate to be “the jerk”, the truth of the matter is that city inaction on this project is frankly pathetic. This past week we received a letter from Mitch Moroziuk (P.Eng., MBA - General Manager of Infrastructure), stating “The City has many items on the go and unfortunately this project is not high on the priority list”.

Which is odd, given that feedback from the City of Penticton’s own “Have Your Say on Parks & Recreation” poll, which ran throughout 2016, clearly demonstrated that Campbell Mountain access, trail signage and sanctioning was at the absolute top of the poll list from the beginning to end!

$24K in funds resides in City coffers to get the ball rolling - a gift from the developer at Pleasant Valley Mobile Homes - and the Trail Alliance has pledged to supply the balance of funds required to accomplish the job, and yet; absolute inaction on behalf of the City of Penticton.

And thus, I ask you dear readers, to offer us a hand in nudging the process along. Please use the address below to let Mitch M. and Co. know that there is strong community support for signing, sanctioning and providing southern access to Campbell Mountain and its incredible trail network -


Blowouts - Compressor Rental: Frost is soon to come and irrigation blowouts are an inevitable part of winterizing your home. Luckily, the Trail Alliance has a compressor that members may rent for an incredibly cheap $20 per day (!) in order to blow out their irrigation systems.

Funds raised from this annual rental are applied to the Trail Alliance trail-funding program, allowing us to purchase pressure-treated wood, galvanized nails and bolts, signage material, hand-tools etc. for the betterment of trails in the South Okanagan.

Let us know if you’d like to use the compressor this fall: 250.486.2443


Whew! That was a whopper of a newsletter! Stay tuned for next month’s issue, where I’ll report on the results of our presentation to the RDOS, to whit; restoration of funding and seasonal staffing for illegal forest dumpsite cleanups, along with the results of the valley’s first 100km (!) singletrack alpine trail race; the “Mighty Quail Trail 100k” and loads of trail news and views.

Until next time, I look forward to meeting you out on the singletrack!


Andrew Drouin

President - South Okanagan Trail Alliance





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Welcome to the July South Okanagan Trail Alliance Newsletter


Welcome to your July Newsletter my friends! As opposed to some of the blockbuster-sized newsletters of the past, I’ll try to keep this one short and sweet, with that in mind, let’s dig right in. The header image on this month's newsletter isn't meant to be shocking, rather, it's a simple reminder to be extra-cautious with fire while recreating in our beautiful forests!



July’s New Trail of the Month is “Organ Donor”, so named by dirt-bike riders who created it way back when. I’ll position this as a difficult hike, a hellish hike-a-bike and one not recommended for equestrians. I’m not sure that many of my readers are dirt-bike riders anyway, but even if there were a few of you out there enjoying the sport, I’m not confident that you’d want to ride this crazy-technical trail anyway. Ya’, it’s that challenging!

This route also offers a unique twist; I’ve not seen the backside of the mountain, nor the continuation of this (visually obvious) trail, which ascends / descends it. This optionally leads to a mystery / challenge for you, my dear readers; I invite the extremely able-bodied among you to explore the section of this trail which I’ve published here, and, if you are so inclined and prepared, to send me pictures and gps-tracks of the ‘unknown’ / 'backside' section of the trail, for inclusion in the Aug. newsletter!

From what I understand, the route continues, dropping to connect with the upper reaches of the Crow Trail, and alternately, the upper reaches of the Gillies FSR, which drops into Skaha Prov. Park. I’ve not yet added this route to (friends in town / busy summer) and have instead posted these Google Earth and a raw-data GPS links.

In summary; it’s a tough hike and is fairly long (including those sections of upper Wiltse / Crow Pass that you must travel along in order to reach the Organ Donor trailhead). I’d only suggest the published route / return for very fit, well-prepared individuals - with hiking poles. Furthermore, I’d only suggest the “unknown” section for the uber-fit and adventurous among you!

Organ Donor’s trail-head begins at the point at which the Crow Pass trail begins to veer south, along its route toward Skaha Prov. Park. Your best bet is to download and study the accompanying Google Earth or GPS files, load them onto your smartphone / GPS device and use those to seek out the summit route.



Cleanup Day - Carmi-Beaverdell: The South Okanagan Trail Alliance, in partnership with the Upper Carmi Neighborhood Association are conducting an illegal trash site cleanup this coming Saturday, July 22nd.

We’re meeting at the Garnet Fire Interpretive Centre parking lot at 10am, and invite everyone to join us in reclaiming and beautifying forest from the walking-brain-dead who live among us; those who use the pristine forest as their own personal garbage dump site!

This event runs for approximately three hours, and will not only be a bonus for our forests and the critters therein, but also provides one with a serious sense of good-juju! Bring gloves, appropriate footwear, a rake, bug-dope and water.



Mt.Kobau - Trail Update: Note that the Testalinden Trail on Mt.Kobau 'is no more', and has been replaced by the new Chopaka Trail. Details are available here



The McLellan - Trail Update: Please note that the McLellan Trail, running up the west face of McLellan is now derelict and nearly impassable. This was one of the POC original trails, but has not seen work in recent years. If you'd like to assist in a trail-day in order to bring this route back to life, please don’t hesitate to contact me at your convenience, and we could look at a fall 2017 cleanup.

Until then, it’s best to leave it off your bucket list. The Balsam Route/Mt.Hawthorne trail is still easily passable and offers many of the same vistas along that mountain ridge line.



And that’s it for now folks! I really hope to see many of your smiling faces on Saturday for the Carmi-Beaverdell cleanup! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 250.486.2443. We’d greatly appreciate any trucks / trailers / equipment that you might be able to add to the effort. The RDOS will be offering us free tipping at the landfill on Saturday.




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Welcome to the June South Okanagan Trail Alliance Newsletter


This month’s edition is bursting with trail news and views! .Summer in the Okanagan is here, and while the whole flooding thing is a bit much, at least we appear to have made it through the endless rain! This month’s Newsletter is, as usual, chock-a-block with all manner of trail-info’ for you to enjoy!



New Trail of the Month: This month’s “new trail” is actually a pair of mini-trails; one set in an educational, ecological location, boardwalk-accessible to people of all ages and abilities, the other a little-known, but well-built ‘pseudo-pump-track’ for kids.

Given the number of occasions that I’ve mentioned these spots, only to be met with blank stares - I figured that they deserved to be highlighted. And since they are both small, I’m providing them as a ‘two-for-one’ :-) . Log into and click on the Manitou Park Track and Vaseux Lake Wildlife Centre (boardwalk and new triple-decker lookout station) links that you’ll find there.



Trail Update 1: The Lacoma Lake trail is suffering from a serious case of spring-erosion, and is not currently passable as far as the main parking area. As such, you’ll be faced with a longer hike or bike-in should you wish to explore the area.



Trail Update 2: The top-most section of the Naramata Creek trail which once connected with the KVR and Beer Run, is no longer in existence! Erosion from a diverted seasonal creek has washed out a [massive] section of the former trail, to the point where it's truly no longer passable (or even there for that matter). I’ve visited the area with the RDOS and Recreation Sites and Trails BC, and am informed that a new trail will be created somewhere north of the former trail site, at some point in the future.



Trail-Cam Grant: The Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC has very generously donated funds toward the acquisition of night-vision trail-cams - which we will be deploying in the forest in an attempt to document illegal dumping. Stay tuned for potential charges against idiots who dump garbage in the forest!



Advocacy Month Extreme: Whew! The last couple of weeks in Penticton held significant advocacy activity for BC trail-lovers! Kicking off with the quarterly Provincial Trails Advisory Body meeting, featuring numerous government trail representatives, followed by the Horse Council of BC’s ‘Share the Trails Workshop’ and capped off by this past weekend’s Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC AGM at the Pine Hills Golf and Country Club. I’ll post links to summery reports of these meetings next month. In all, Penticton was graced by the presence of well over 100 hard working, chainsaw slinging, Pulaski-wielding, back-country cabin / trail builders and government officials in charge of same.

This included representatives from the hiking, biking, equestrian and motorized recreation trail community. Along the way, we had the opportunity to enjoy Kelley Cook’s presentation on Hudson's Bay Company Heritage Trail and Lisa Scott’s very informative presentation on Okanagan flora and fauna. If you have the opportunity to catch either of these talks in the future, I encourage you to do so!



June 3rd - Is Trail-Day: Not only is it a South Okanagan Trail Alliance Trail-Day, but also International Trail Day! The Trail Alliance will be working in Skaha Prov. Park, realigning a section of trail in order to eliminate an erosion problem. Join us for an easy two-hour trail-remediation session, 10am meet-up in the Skaha Prov. Park upper parking lot.

The “Wednesday Group” will be our guest trail-group for this outing, offering plenty of opportunities to meet n’ greet new trail-friends! Bring sturdy hiking boots, eye protection, gloves, bug-repellant / sunscreen or lightweight, long-sleeved garments. The area that we’ll be working in is mostly under tree canopy. Snacks and drink post-event. Please RSVP with Andrew Drouin at 250.486.2443 or



Duncan Mackenzie Memorial Ride: (aka: "The Chugger"). I’ve enjoyed this excellent group-ride with Penticton locals and Princeton residents alike three of the past four years. Duncan was an energetic and skilled builder from Whistler who conducted trail-builds around the province, including the excellent Princeton Rail-Trail.

We honor his life with this annual adventure. The fun begins with a shuttle midway up the mountain, following singletrack up from there to a recently constructed (beauty!) mountaintop log cabin, then dropping down the Rail-Trail singletrack to a Tulameen Riverside brew and BBQ, followed by a mellow pedal along the Trans-Canada Trail back into Princeton.

This fun adventure follows intermediate-class singletrack for much of the ride up / down to the TCT. Join us Sunday, June 4th in the Princeton Town Square at 9:30am to sort out shuttles. Lunch with drink $15, Extra drink is $5 More info' and RSVP 250.295.3625 or



Ron Hayman Jr. Classic June 10th: Criterium Race Event: The Trail Alliance is once again set to support the Ron Hayman Jr. Classic race event - a significant fundraiser for our club each year. This time around, we have the quickest, easiest, and IMHO, most exhilarating course to manage: the Criterium! I’m putting the call out to all of my friends, family and clients to step up and offer a fraction of your day to this excellent cause. The commitment is pretty simple, as the entire process runs from 8am to noon, and finds us in the City of Penticton, along Riverside Drive. Full details of our stage of the event (the Criterium) is viewable here. For those wondering, “What is a Criterium anyway?”, this YouTube video explains. Questions, comments, or an irresistible urge to volunteer for this most excellent cause? Call Andrew Drouin at 250.486.2443 or email



Support locals creating an HBC Trails Documentary: Summerland locals Eric Thompson and Erin Trainer are fundraising via a GoFundMe campaign in order to support the creation of a documentary short highlighting the HBC Trail. We strongly believe in this project, and as such, are offering to donate 50% of the profits from all subscriptions / re-subscriptions to for the month of June to their cause!

By subscribing to you can not only enjoy the endless stream of trails that we produce each month, but also provide support for a way-overdue documentary on this amazing BC heritage trail!



A Newsletter Within a Newsletter: The Outdoor Recreation Council (our partner in the FMCBC Provincial trails Advisory Body) have just released their monthly newsletter, and as usual, it is loaded with great outdoor info’. Well worth a read!



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 two to the cause via our PayPal link (

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, 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.



See you out on the trails!


"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees, winds will blow their freshness unto you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like falling leaves." - John Muir




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Welcome to your May 2017 / South Okanagan Trail Alliance Newsletter! It’s been a Slow Train Comin’, but this finally feels like Spring!


Celebrate our amazing local outdoors by checking out our 'New Trail of the Month'

I've dubbed this trail “Damage Case”. When you experience the area and appreciate both the terrain it passes through and the views that it provides along much of its length, but are bummed out to witness the dirt-bike damage which has occurred in the vicinity, you’ll understand the title.

Lets ‘Occupy’ the area with non-motorized recreationalists in order to drive out the riffraff that are tearing the terrain into erosion trenches through vertical hill-climbs on dirt-bikes!

Check it out by logging into and exploring the new ‘Damage Case’ links presented there.



The 52nd Okanagan Similkameen Parks Society (OSPS) AGM

I recently attended the OSPS AGM in Summerland. These folks are and have long been doing great work for Okanagan parkland. Unfortunately, the current situation with the OSPS is that of aging-out... as in, "out of time in life" to put it nicely.

This year’s event featured by far the smallest turnout that I've seen to date. As one of the executive speakers wryly put it: "a few members were supposed to attend tonight, but they recently passed away, so I guess they couldn't help it that they aren't here" :-|

The vast majority of members left in the OSPS are senior citizens, which is a problem from a "member-numbers and time left on earth" standpoint. This is very unfortunate, as the OSPS has done amazing things in their 52 year history.

They’ve spearheaded the creation of Cathedral Park, Conkle Lake Park, Okanagan Mountain Park and the Cascades Historic Trails, as a small sample of their long list of accomplishments. The OSPS collection of nature-bound achievements surpasses any single club that I’m aware of in the Okanagan-Similkameen. All of this, and club membership is a mere $10!

I'm keen to do everything possible to get new members to join the OSPS in 2017. There exists no good reason not to support this group, and if we don’t do so soon, it'll be too late. The loss of this organization would be a great deficit to outdoor recreation in the Okanagan-Similkameen.



Draft #2 of the City of Penticton Parks & Recreation Master Plan now available

After 5000+ contacts with the community and a year of work by steering committee members, the City of Penticton is presenting the second draft of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan. The draft plan contains over 150 recommendations for City parks, beaches, trails, outdoor recreation amenities, indoor recreation facilities and recreation programs and services.

An Open House is planned for May 1 from 4 pm to 8 pm at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre. The Open House Presentation Schedule is as shown below:

4:30-5:30pm - Commercial Uses of Parkland

6:00-7:00pm - General Overview of Master Plan

7:00-8:00pm - Commercial Uses of Parkland

Personally speaking, the most important component of this presentation is the City of Penticton’s intension for Campbell Mt. I’ve seen some notes on Campbell within the document, but nothing immediately pending, which is unfortunate.

Please let Penticton Council know that signed, sanctioned access on this important recreational area is critical. Don’t be shy about letting these folks know what you seek in your community, they are after all, our employees.



Our First Trail-Day of 2017

The South Okanagan Trail Alliance welcomes Peach City Runners to a shared Trail-Day in Skaha Prov. Park on Sunday, May the 7th, 10am to noon.

We’ll meet at the main parking lot and work to resurface the bottom sections of the WARD1 trail. We welcome volunteers of all ages to pitch in with a flat-blade shovel or wide hoe. Snacks, water, gloves, sturdy hiking boots, a hat and eye-protection are recommended.

The event runs two hours and provides not only good juju for doing right by your trails, but also offers an opportunity for participants to meet like minded friends-to-be who love all things trail.

Uber-Kudos to all-around great guy Neil Macdonald, from Peach City Runners and his fun-loving crew of “drinkers with a running problem” (their words, not mine)



May is [Huge] for Trail Advocacy in the South Okanagan

The Provincial Trails Advisory Body quarterly meeting will be held here on May 11th, the Outdoor Recreation Council / Horse Council of BC Share the Trails Workshop runs May 12th, and our very own Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC AGM will be celebrated in Penticton on May the 26th through 28th

The Trail Alliance will be represented at all three events, while co-hosts - the Penticton Outdoors Club and the Skaha Parkwatch Society will participate in the FMCBC AGM.



Bikes & Beer Roadtrip

Win a Fully Financed Road-Trip! Enter by midnight, Monday, May 22nd, 2017 for your chance to win a road trip featuring the big mountains and tall cans of British Columbia’s interior towns including Kamloops, Shuswap, Revelstoke, Golden and Valemount. July 21-28, 2017. Details are here



Trail and Outdoor Apps that are worth a look

As frequent readers know, I’m a bit of a tech’ geek when it comes to maps and mapping. A recent Adventure Journal blog highlights some of the more interesting outdoor mapping, bird-spotting, plant-identifying, peak-finding, mushroom identification smartphone software available for very little money (wayyy less $ than standard computer software, but every bit as powerful).

I’ve used all of these Apps at one point or another, and can vouch for their usefulness.



An alternate viewpoint on the Trans-Canada Trail

A recent CBC PodCast provides warnings from Edmund Aunger, cyclist and Professor Emeritus in Political Science at the University of Alberta. Aunger says much of what's considered trail isn't actually trail - it's the shoulders of highways. Aunger believes the trail is a risk, and declaring it nearly complete is irresponsible. Listen to the CBC PodCast

Here is a link to the "Great Trail" website. Follow it through various sections of Canada in order to understand the many road / highway issues that he describes in the PodCast.



Just Vote! No excuses, Vote! BC’s shameful 52% voter turnout in the last election is ridiculous! There is no excuse for not participating in your own future and the future of those you love! Do you value BC? Then Vote! Full details on the who, what, where and when are here


Until next time, I hope to meet you out on the trails!



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Spion Kop



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 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



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 (

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, 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.

  • Use insect repellant with DEET or natural alternatives on your skin and clothing. Carefully apply the repellent to your face, neck and ears. You may need to reapply after several hours.
  • Wear light-colored clothing. You’ll have a better chance of seeing a dark tick crawling on you before it makes its way to your skin.
  • Wear long pants with sneakers or hiking boots. Tuck your pant legs into your socks, and keep your shirt tucked into your waistband.
  • Stay on the trail. Ticks hang out in high vegetation, waiting for a passing host. When your leg brushes through the vegetation, the tick transfers to your body. Walk on designated trails and avoid blazing your own.
  • Be vigilant - do a woodtick check when you return to your vehicle. Examine your clothing exposed skin. Don’t neglect to carefully scan your dog if hiking / biking with fido, as they brush up against countless areas off-trail.


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! -


Baldy Mountain


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 ridge line 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 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”.

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 (

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, 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 :-)






Wildlife Management Area


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 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 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, 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, 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


Baldy Skyline


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 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, 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!



Campbell Classic Bench


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 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 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.


Andrew Drouin



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. 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: 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 :-)





Oct. Newsletter


Sage & Sparrow Grasslands Protected Area


Welcome to the Oct. 2017 SOTA Newsletter, 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, 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 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 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:  250-488-9798


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


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...






Coda up Carmi


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, 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 PentictonSay How You PlayRecreation 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 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, 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 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

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


Andrew Drouin



Okanagan Mountain Park


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, 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’…

  1. Campbell Mt. Southeast access; we’ve gained a City of Penticton commitment to follow through with this project – five years in the making – and met onsite with city staff, engineers and environmental consultants.  The plan is to implement a metal scaffold type system to support pedestrian traffic through the ‘missing’ trail section along the rock-face between the former Pleasant Valley golf course and the established singletrack up the southeast face of the mountain.
  1. Reestablishing Rattlesnake Mt. access at the end of Cristante Ave.  This excellent singletrack was cut off several years ago, due to highway construction below being fed by a new gravel pit – which now lies smack in the middle of the trail.  We’ve been working with the Ministry of Transport on reestablishing access through the current gravel pit area and onto the ‘new’ trailhead.
  1. Conkle Mt.  This one is moving slow as molasses in January… and as such, we’d love it if you kind folks could drop Summerland city staff a quick note ( email link ), supporting our request that the development planning department follow through with the Summerland Parks & Rec. Master Plan – which specifically mentions the implementation of additional recreational trails on Conkle Mt.

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.

Andrew Drouin







July Trail Alliance / 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,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 - 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 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 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 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!





80 Footer



June Trail Alliance / 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 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    

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 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!road-race/nccz0


Book Deal for past purchasers - The expanded / updated fourth edition of 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 / 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 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 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 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 ( ).  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:!road-race/nccz0

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 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!