The fundraising campaign to complete the northern trailhead for the Okanagan Rail Trail has received a boost with grants from the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative and the Regional District of North Okanagan.
Last year, in the first campaign since the trail was built, trail supporters raised about $75,000 to naturalize the old rail yard as the first phase of trailhead development. The next phase is to finalize design and create a signature trailhead with a plaza gathering space, distinctive gateway feature and interpretive signage.
The Okanagan Rail Trail will eventually see gateways in each of the three communities along the 50 km route. The northern gateway in Coldstream is the first to be developed, and will function both as a trailhead and a unique public space close to Kalamalka Beach. The area is connected by pathway to the Coldstream Station parking area on Kalamalka Lake Road, and to the City of Vernon.
“We are very thankful to be awarded a $72,000 Canada Healthy Communities grant administered by the Community Foundations of Canada”, said Laurie Postill with Friends of Okanagan Rail Trail. “We particularly appreciate the role of the North Okanagan Community Foundation and the Central Okanagan Foundation, who have been long time partners in developing the rail trail.”
The Regional District of North Okanagan has also provided a grant of $25,650 to support ongoing work. “Our trails and natural spaces have been especially important for community health during the COVID pandemic”, says Akbal Mund, chair of the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee. “RDNO has made significant investments in securing and protecting the trail, and it is great to see the volunteer group, Friends of Okanagan Rail Trail, step up to help develop the ‘wow’ factor for our northern trail entrance”.
“We want to raise another $100,000 to complete the trailhead development by 2022”, says Postill. “Our community has always been very generous to the trail, and we hope to see individuals, and community leaders come forward to help us complete this project”.
To learn more and donate, please visit: https://okanaganrailtrail.ca/friends-of-the-trail/kilometre-zero/