By Judie Steeves
Although there’s still deep snow covering the historic railway route through Myra Canyon at 1,200 metres in elevation, in a matter of months there’ll be another 50,000 or more visitors riding cycles and walking the route—so maintenance is essential.
That’s where the Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society’s small army of volunteers comes in.
And, they always welcome newcomers interested in lending a hand, says director Ken Campbell.
The society has just signed a Park Use Permit with B.C. Parks for the coming year, with its agreement that volunteers will continue maintenance of the popular hiking and cycling route through the canyon high above Kelowna.
Last year, Campbell says they widened the boardwalk on the longest trestle, number 6, as well as adding some more benches along the route. It is the former Kettle Valley Railway and includes a total of 18 trestles and two tunnels between the historic stations of Myra and Ruth.
As well they replaced some of the interpretive signs, added gravel where it was needed, and removed some hazardous trees left from the 2003 wildfire that burned 12 of the trestles and damaged a couple more.
This year, he said the plan is to continue removal of hazardous trees, add gravel where needed to maintain the trail, as well as widen trestle number 9, the other steel one, and perhaps build a shelter in the wide space on the trail at the end of trestle number 11. There’s not much shelter from squalls except in the tunnels, he noted.
First, though, there’s always maintenance required once the snow melts off the trail, so rock clearing and tree removal will be the first order of business, but likely not until mid-May, said Campbell.
Plans are to hire a couple of trail hosts again this year, students who ride through the canyon, answering visitors’ questions about history and natural history and doing some minor bike repairs, he said.
Last year, he said one of the hosts commented that it was a dream job.
Slides of some of the work that’s been done in the past year will be shown to the public at the MCTRS annual general meeting to be held Thurs., Mar. 29 in the EECO in Mission Creek Regional Park on Springfield Road, beginning at 7 p.m.
The society was started by a group of residents who felt it was important the trestles be made more safe for the growing number of people interested in hiking and cycling along the historic right-of-way.
Myra Canyon was declared a National Historic Site in 2003 by the federal government.
The route is fairly level and there’s handicapped access to the site.
For more details, visit the website at: www.myratrestles.com