Two Vernon businesses have stepped forward to start a summer matching challenge to raise funds for the Friends of the Okanagan Rail Trail’s Northern Gateway campaign. (Black Press - file photo)

Two Vernon businesses have stepped forward to start a summer matching challenge to raise funds for the Friends of the Okanagan Rail Trail’s Northern Gateway campaign. (Black Press - file photo)

Vernon companies step forward to support Okanagan Rail Trail campaign

Priscilla, Remax and KPMG have started summer matching challenge to help Friends of the Okanagan Rail Trail

Two corporate sponsors have stepped forward to help energize the Friends of the Okanagan Rail Trail (FORT) Kilometre Zero of the Northern Gateway campaign with a summer matching challenge.

Priscilla Sookrow of Priscilla, Remax and KPMG are offering to match up to $7,500 of public donations to help complete Phase 2 of the Northern Trailhead at Kilometre Zero in Coldstream. Phase 2 will include unique and natural flora and fauna, indigenous to the north end of Kalamalka Lake.

“We know so many have enjoyed the trail during restrictive pandemic times,” said Sookarow. “A walk or bike along Kalamalka Lake is always inspirational and regenerating. It’s great to know that generations to come will be able to enjoy our little stretch of paradise. We hope you will join us in finishing our gateway.”

FORT is working with the Regional District of North Okanagan and the Okanagan Indian Band to create a signature gateway for the beloved local trail.

“We are working hard to finalize designs and create a signature trailhead with a plaza gathering space, distinctive gateway features and interpretive signage,” said FORT in a release. “We’re excited to transform this area into the start/endpoint of the Okanagan Rail Trail in the North Okanagan.”

FORT is a volunteer organization that supports owner jurisdictions and works hard to make the rail trail the best it can be. They donate their time as Trail Ambassadors, Trail Stewards, and assist in the planning and project work on the trail.

To date, $34,000 of the targeted $100,000 has been raised to support the two grants which were secured earlier this spring.

“With corporate sponsors like the team at Priscilla, Remax and KPMG ready to match campaign fundraising, we’re looking for generous trail users, businesses, and community leaders to support the completion of Kilometre Zero,” said FORT. “Donations will be used towards the completion of the northern gateway, a unique public meeting space with orientation, trip planning, and interpretative signage.”

Said Cheryl J. Schmidt of KPMG: “Every week I talk to people who went out and enjoyed the trail, so it’s great to be a part of making it even better.”

Contributions are greatly appreciated and will be recognized on FORT’s donor page online. To learn more about the campaign goals, the Okanagan Rail Trail, and how you can support, please visit online at okanaganrailtrail.ca where you can make donations directly, or view more project information.

READ MORE: Funds link Okanagan Rail Trail to Predator Ridge

READ MORE: Okanagan Rail Trail to be extended to downtown Kelowna

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