New trail in the works to connect Cultus Lake communities
A new trail is in the works to connect Main Beach with campgrounds and communities on the north end of Cultus Lake.
Volunteers with the Lakeside Trail Society are laying the groundwork for a "safe and scenic" walking trail for residents, and visitors alike, said Jim Young, chair of the trail society.
"The idea is so popular. People want to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors," Young said.
Several new housing developments have been springing up near Cultus Lake in recent years. That means potentially hundreds of residents are in need of a walkable access route.
"We wanted to find a way to connect those people to the lake," said Young.
Some have crossed private property, which has caused "consternation" in the past, and walking along the roadway in some sections is neither "practical or safe," he said.
"We plan on building this trail between the highway and the lake for its entire length," said Young.
The idea for a trail around the lake arose in discussions with FVRD a few years ago, as they were updating the OCP for the region, and made it part of the future vision.
As someone who enjoys climbing Teapot Hill, Young said he has to jump in his car to reach the trailhead since it's not safe to walk along the narrower strips of highway.
"So the idea came up to put in a trail that would connect communities, end to end."
It will take a few years to finish the 10-km Lakeside Trail, and it will be built in sections. The trail will be geared for walkers, runners, and cyclists, but not for motorized vehicles or horses.
It will be five to eight feet wide, seal-coated over crushed aggregate.
The first section will go from the Leisure Valley development to Maple Bay, about 2 km, will link up communities near Lindell Beach with the lake.
"It's the easiest section to build, and one that will benefit the most people."
Trail society members have been meeting for months already with numerous stakeholders, businesses, residents' associations, as well as key government ministry and political reps to build support, assistance and buy-in.
"It's a partnership, and we have had incredible contributions of time and effort," said Young.
There are existing trails to be found on Main Beach, Sunnyside Campground, the highway, BC Parks and campgrounds, but they're not linked up in any way.
"Much of the route our trail will take is therefore already built but just not connected or signed, or necessarily safe to walk along," said Young.
Increased safety for pedestrians is a critical part of the vision.
The trail will feature directional and interpretive signage as well as audio tours.
Trail builders plan to create branches to existing trails like Teapot Hill, Seven Sisters and TransCanada Trail.
The proposed Lakeside Trail will zigzag from Cultus Lake Park through Sunnyside, and other campgrounds to the highway, into BC Parks and back to the highway.
"Think of it as a major connect-the-dots game," said Young.
The project will require some highway widening and some fundraising to bring it to fruition.
Most of the people helping are volunteers and they're looking for help with engineering to build a bridge over Frosst Creek.
Consultants Urban Systems was hired to complete a conceptual plan, and the team is preparing a budget for Spring 2016. See more details at http://lakesidetrail.ca/
"It’s a bit like an iceberg, we’re still at the tip of it and have a long ways to go to get to the bottom," he said.