The Rosebery to Summit Lake Rail Trail has been given the green light by the provincial government.

The Rail Trail, Motorized Bypass Trail, and Girl Guide Recreation Site were approved by Justin Dexter, Recreation Officer with Rec Sites and Trails BC (RSTBC), in a letter dated December 4, 2017.

The one big change from the proposal that was publicized in February is that most of the rail trail will be designated non-motorized once the Moto Bypass Trail is built and open. In the proposal we saw in February, most of the rail trail was going to be open to motorized use. The switch to non-motorized use was made “after reviewing all stakeholder (RDCK, Habitat, BCTS, First Nations, Forestry, Resorts, etc.) responses and public referral responses and making a land management decision based on that feedback that is consistent with the legalities of Crown Land use and one that significantly improves the status quo,” explained Dexter.

He added that hundreds of public comments were received as part of the process.

The Summit Lake Rail Trail will be non-motorized from Rosebery to Ruby Range Road just north of Summit Lake, with the exception of the section between the Girl Guide Camp and the gravel pit in Hills. This section will be open to motorized use to accommodate access to the Moto Bypass Trail.

The Moto Bypass Trail will run basically parallel to the rail trail, on the west side of Summit Lake and the west side of Bonanza Creek. It will stretch from the Hills gravel pit to Ruby Range Road, where it will meet the multi-use (motorized allowed) rail trail to Nakusp.

The Moto Bypass Trail staging areas will be at Bonanza Forest Service Road and Summit Lake Ski Hill.

The Bypass Trail will be closed at certain times of the year, to be determined by government biologists, in consideration of the blue-listed western toads that live in the Summit Lake area. Gates and educational signage will be installed at both ends of the trail to explain and enforce closures.

The Bypass trail mostly follows existing logging roads – Bonanza and Summit – and also follows existing cross-country ski trails at Summit Lake Ski Hill. A 0.7-kilometre section of new trail will have to be built, and will be done when (or after) BC Timber Sales builds an extension on the north end of Bonanza Forest Service Road.

The rail trail will continue to be multi-use (motorized and non-motorized) until the Moto Bypass Trail has been built and is operational.

The Girl Guide Camp has been approved as a day recreation site.

Dexter notes in his approval letter that overnight camping may be considered in future, and that RSTBC would support an application by the RDCK for a Licence of Occupation for the trail from Rosebery up to and including the Girl Guide Camp, as an extension of the existing Galena Trail. The RDCK holds a Licence of Occupation for the Galena Trail, which runs from Three Forks to Rosebery.

The proposal for the trail and bypass trail was hashed out by a group of four people, facilitated by John Cathro of Kaslo. The group’s job was to create a plan that would balance concerns around the sensitive ecosystems in the area and the position of ATV enthusiasts wanting motorized access.

As reported in the Valley Voice Newspaper, Dec. 14/ 17