Enhancing the trail user’s experience by restoring and improving areas along the trail while interpreting nature and the culture/history of the area was the goal of the Okanagan Rail Trail Interpretive project made possible by a generous donation from the Edna, Stella and Harry Weatherill Foundation.
Three sites were selected along the trail for restoration/improvement and interpretation based on safety, enhancement benefit to the trail user as well as durability/maintenance of the site.
Kelowna: (KM 40) Carney Pond
Lake Country: (KM 23) Ribbleworth Falls
Regional District of North Okanagan: KM 3.7
Guiding principles for the project were agreed upon by rail trail owner jurisdictions:
· Effectively use and improve the natural beauty of the trail.
· Simple and natural. Keep the feeling along the trail as ‘natural’ as possible with design and content.
· Engage/educate through design, art and stories.
· Durable, high quality, environmentally responsible design and construction.
· Engage the experts in determining what and how to interpret.
Site preparations began in Spring 2019 with rough grading, installation of fencing and applications for required permits. Work on the interpretive sites finished in October 2020 with the installation of site furnishings. Cyclists, hikers, parents and caregivers with strollers, and dog walkers have already been enjoying the opportunity to take a break, enjoy the view and learn something new presented on the interpretive signage at the sites.