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History

Shuswap Trail Strategy Brief - updated Febraury 4, 2011

In November 2004, regional stakeholders in the Shuswap met to consider a proposal by local trail advocates envisioning the creation of an internationally recognized natural trail and waterway network promoting environmental stewardship, sustainable economics, and a reputation for healthy living and recreation.

Catalysts for action included results from the 2002 Shuswap Tourism Opportunity Strategy, Columbia Shuswap Regional District Parks and Trail planning underway throughout the region, an ambitious proposal put forward by the Adventure Okanagan Cooperative to link the Okanagan Shuswap valley under a single extended trail route brand (the 5 Rings Trail), and new provincial emphasis on healthy communities, tourism enhancement, and preparation for the 2010 Olympics.

A steering advisory was formed including representation from the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, Little Shuswap Indian Band, the Switzmalph Cultural Society, the City of Salmon Arm, the District of Sicamous, Community Futures Development Corporation, Salmon Arm Economic Development Society, Sicamous and District Chamber of Commerce, Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce, Shuswap Tourism and Economic Development, the Larch Hills Nordic Society, Shuswap Outdoors, Shuswap Naturalists, Salmon Arm Greenways, BC Backcountry Horsemen, the Shuswap Mountain Bike community, business, and accommodation operators.

The Shuswap Hut and Trail Alliance was formally incorporated as a legal non-profit society in November 2005 out of a year long study to examine the viability of the vision, and consider how communities, organizations and governing bodies might work collaboratively toward a linked system of natural trail, hut-to-hut, and waterway routes for walking, hiking, mountain biking, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, horseback riding, and paddling throughout the Shuswap.

The full Shuswap Trail Strategy, first presented in November 2006, proposed an ambitious 5-year development strategy that would link existing trail plans throughout the Shuswap watershed into a unified message of active communities, ecological commitment, and welcome. (SHTA, 2006) Through the Shuswap Trail Alliance, community partners – First nations, municipalities, the regional district, recreational clubs, environmental groups, businesses, industry, and community members – were invited to come together and coordinate their efforts toward the creation of trails and greenways throughout the region.

Three and a half years later, the Shuswap Trail Alliance had evolved into a strategic meeting point for leadership of regional trail development and management. Milestones included:

  1. extensive regional consultation,
  2. research into best practises of trail design and management,
  3. preparation of a long range comprehensive strategic vision and plan, (SHTA 2006)
  4. creation of a 5 year business plan in consultation with Thompson Rivers University School of Tourism
  5. identification of over 300 kilometres of proposed trail and greenway corridor throughout the watershed
  6. researched and written standards manual for regional trail construction and signage
  7. regional commitments to adopt unified trail design and sign standards,
  8. facilitation of enhanced collaborative working agreements between local governments,
  9. partnerships on new trail development projects including the City of Salmon Arm and CSRD Parks,
  10. a growing community volunteer base and monthly regional volunteer trail building events,
  11. contracted engagement of professional trail development services and expertise
  12. training programs in sustainable trail plotting, design and construction,
  13. authorized construction of over 15 kilometres of new public recreational nature trail
  14. connection of the first 35 kilometre long distance signature route connecting Salmon Arm and Sicamous,
  15. facilitation of multi-use cooperation and planning between motorized and non-motorized trail user groups
  16. new program partnerships including the Fall Family Hiking series and school service learning programs
  17. and leveraged financial and in-kind investment between 2005 and 2007 estimated in excess of $500,000 with support from over 110 local businesses, residents, service organizations, regional government, the Province of BC, Western Economic Diversification Canada, Services Canada’s Job Creation Partnership Program, and the first milestone corporate sponsorship from Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union.

The Shuswap Trail Strategy is a regional success story. Support continues to grow. New funding investment to conduct planning and organizational management of the project is now essential for its long-term viability. A copy of the Phase 1 Strategic Report and other studies and project updates are available here.

For a copy of the most recent Shuswap Trails Background Brief click here

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Shuswap Trails: Strategic Planning. . .

Several Key Strategic Planning Processes and resulting Documents have been instrumental in the evolution of the Shuswap Trail Strategy and Shuswap Trail Alliance: (Follow the links below)

2002 Shuswap Tourism Opportunity Strategy

2006 Shuswap Trails Concept Study

2007 Shuswap Trails Strategy

2010 Shuswap Tourism Strategy

2010 Shuswap Trails Adaptive Management Planning Tool

2011 Shuswap Trails Protocol

BC Trails Strategy

 
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