LETTER: Paving regional trails still the best option

By Contributor
March 27th, 2012

Dear Editor:

After reading the letters and responses regarding the proposed paving of the Trans Canada Trail between Grand Forks and Christina Lake, I feel compelled to respond.

The Grand Forks Community Trails Society and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary partnered in this project. While there have been a large number of letters in support of this development, there have been some concerns expressed around the use of asphalt, as well as horseback riding on the trail.

With the success of the newly paved trails in the City of Grand Forks, as well as the trail linking Kimberley and Cranbrook, it seemed logical to apply for the Community Recreation Program funds announced in October 2011 by Premier Clark, which started the ball rolling. We recently learned that our grant application was unsuccessful, so we will start again, looking for funds and grants for this very worthwhile project.

We have searched extensively for alternatives to the proposed asphalt surfacing. We have queried the United States National Parks Service, suppliers and trail development organizations in the United States, England and Europe. We have contacted municipal parks planning in Calgary, Kelowna, Victoria, Coquitlam, Burnaby, Richmond and Vancouver looking for suitable alternatives to asphalt, without success.

In our conversation with Rhys Williams, an engineer with Vancouver Parks planning, he stated,

“We consider three factors in our decisionmaking process: Social, Environmental and Economic. After all considerations are evaluated, asphalt paving is still the best choice for trails as it has the lowest carbon footprint.”

The planned main users are cyclists, hikers, skateboarders, rollerbladers and persons using mobility devices. This will not stop horseback riders who will have the option of using the trail or riding alongside of the trail as they do on the roadways, as the right-of-way is at least 20 metres (66 feet) wide. Unauthorized motorized users are not welcomed, as the trail runs through the Gilpin Grasslands Park – all provincial park trails are designated for non-motorized use only.   

In closing, this project is back in the early planning stages, with completion still planned for December 2015.

If you have further questions, please contact me directly (g.longden@gmail.com) or you can attend the meetings of the Grand Forks Community Trails Society – please consult our website for dates and times of meetings, as well as the minutes of our meetings. (http://www.gftrails.ca)


George Longden

Grand Forks, B.C.

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