In Stile. . .new trail stiles protect Larch Hills wetlands

IMG_2215News Release

Shuswap Trails

June 17, 2014

The Shuswap, British Columbia – There’s lots of opportunity for team building happening up in the Larch Hills these days. Volunteer trail stewards from the Larch Hills Nordic Society and Shuswap Outdoors joined forces with the Shuswap Trail Alliance trail crew this past week to figure out how to install a series of new pole rail stiles and information signs that will help protect sensitive wetlands during the summer months.

The stiles are part of the summer trail stewardship plan developed several years ago by a joint committee that included leadership from local motorized and non-motorized recreational groups. The advisory worked closely with land managers from Recreation Sites and Trails BC and BC Parks to develop actions that could better manage recreational use of the trails and protect sensitive wetland habitat in the area during the summer months when the trails were not being used as ski trails. Funding for the trail stile project included a recent grant through the Shuswap Community Foundation.

“We can’t keep destroying our wetlands,” said Blaine Carson, who heads up the Larch Hills Nordic Society’s tracksetting program and chairs the joint trail committee with Shuswap Outdoors. “It’s great to have the blessing of all the user groups supporting these efforts in the area.”

Projects over the last few years have included ongoing custodian presence at the main Chalet parking area, printing of a summer trail use map, purchase of horse corrals by the EQ Trail Association and the Backcountry Horsemen of BC, installation of permanent gates with BC Parks that can be opened during the winter to allow tracksetting access, and most recently, the installation of the new trail stiles. “It is helping to make the Larch Hills a family oriented area to visit in both the winter and summer,” says Blaine.

The stile project was made possible with partnership funding through Recreation Sites and Trails BC for materials, signage and ranger support contributed through BC Parks, volunteer support through the Larch Hills Nordic Society, Shuswap Outdoors, and the Shuswap Trail Alliance, and additional trail crew support through the Shuswap Trail Alliance thanks to a grant from the Shuswap Community Foundation. “It’s so gratifying to see everyone’s hard work continue to be put into action,” said Phil McIntyre-Paul, with the Shuswap Trail Alliance, who helped to coordinate the plan.

To find out about further volunteer trail projects or more on trails throughout the Shuswap, check out www.shuswaptrails.com. And be sure to share trail maintenance needs through the trail report hotline email at trailreport@shuswaptrails.com

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Photo: Blaine Carson, Bent Kristensen, Todd Sprieszl, Reid MacIntosh, Rebecca Howes, Hayley Fiebelkorn, and Keith Cox work together to install a series of new trail stiles that will help to protect sensitive wetland areas in the Larch Hills during the summer months. The spring project is a joint effort of the Larch Hills Nordic Society, Shuswap Outdoors, the Shuswap Trail Alliance, Rec Sites and Trails BC, and BC Parks, with additional funding support provided by the Shuswap Community Foundation.

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