A devastating fire last summer brought out dozens of volunteers this fall to rebuild one of the series of warming cabins maintained in the back country by the Kelowna Snowmobile Club.
President Clayton Prince says a cabin nicknamed the Doghouse by the Snowdogs burned to the ground on the first of July—a loss that was particularly hard to take since the club lost another one of its back country safety cabins last year when it collapsed under a heavy snow load.
A group of users rebuilt it with volunteer labour, and Prince admits he wondered whether the club could gather together another group to rebuild another cabin.
However, a completely different group pitched in and had the remains of the old cabin cleared up even before the insurance claim was settled, providing funds for the materials to build the new one, he says.
Not only the winter users pitched in, but also summer users, who include 4x4ers, ATV and dirt bike riders, he said.
“It was very much a community effort,” he said, “But it’s all finished except for a coat of paint.”
The Doghouse cabin is accessed from the Myra/KVR trailhead and is about eight kilometres south of that parking lot.
However, the club maintains a huge area south of Little White to Highway 33 by Idabel Lake including the Graystokes Protected Area, which is closed to motorized traffic in summer, but open for snowmobile use in winter.
The club has management agreements with both the Forest, Land and Natural Resource Operations Ministry and with B.C. Parks, said Prince.
It grooms more than 300 km of trail, but more than twice that amount is used in winter in the area, he said.
“There’s quite a network of trails,” he noted.
In all, there are seven cabins and warming shelters to provide a rest stop or emergency haven for those out using the back country.
It’s important that everyone who does use them takes out what they bring in, so no garbage is left there, and that they treat them with respect and ensure doors are properly latched when they leave.
The club, which was established in 1968, had 340 members last year, but Prince says there can be 150 snowmobilers out on the slopes on a normal weekend day.
For more information about the club, go to the website at: www.sledkelowna.ca