This year like never before, we have needed the Okanagan Rail Trail. The open spaces allow us to stay safely active, and nature soothes our soul.
The first gateway to the trail is under development at Kilometre Zero in Coldstream and the focus of the 'Sunflower' fundraising campaign. The campaign name symbolizes the joy of our spring wildflowers and the hope that comes from planting for the future. This is our chance to say thanks and give back.
With a plaza, hilltop viewpoint, interpretive structures, public art, and site furnishings, Kilometre Zero will be a showpiece public space befitting this beautiful section of the trail. Site development will be guided by the Kilometre Zero Concept Plan.
Trail gateways set the stage for the trail experience.
The Kalamalka section of rail trail is environmentally significant and sensitive, and used by thousands of trail users per year.
The area of “K’ək’maplqs”, or ‘Little Head of the Lake’ is significant to the Syilx indigenous people, and the Okanagan Indian Band is an important partner in planning for the site and the stories to be shared.
As the first gateway development along the Okanagan Rail Trail, ‘lessons learned’ will benefit other parts of the Okanagan Rail Trail, other trails and natural spaces in RDNO, and local residents who might like to try naturescaping in their own yards.
Native Landscaping Complete
Thanks to generous donors and grant agencies, the first phase towards a signature gateway is now complete at Kilometre Zero.
The initial priority has been to protect waterways and create a space for nature to thrive in the trailside environment. Over time, majestic ponderosa pine and fir trees, and a suite of native shrubs and plants (including the beautiful Arrowleaf Balsamroot) will welcome visitors to the start of the Kalamalka section of the rail trail.
Okanagan sunflowers/Arrowleaf Balsamroot, or smúkʷaʔxn is one of the culturally important plants now growing at the Kilometre Zero gateway. Future work will describe the importance of these native plants, and what we can learn from the original stewards, the Syilx (Okanagan) Peoples.