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Scenic explorations of Castlegar ... without the need to swim

Lawrence Redfern
By Lawrence Redfern
July 30th, 2012

Have flooding rivers left you wondering where to go to stretch your legs?  Castlegar Friends of Parks and Trails Society has just what you need – a local area Trails Guidebook.  Released this month, after more than a year of preparation, the 25 page guidebook features 14 local trails with full colour photos, maps and trail descriptions.  The Guidebook was conceived by the Society as a means by which they could let more people – locals and visitors alike – learn about the vast and unique trails system in the greater Castlegar area.  The Guidebook also includes urban ‘trails’ such as Millennium Walkway and Sculpturewalk, and information on the trails connecting to Nelson, Trail and Christina Lake.

While Castlegar’s trail system easily justify our claim to be the ‘Riverfront Walking Capital of BC’, this year’s unusually high water is limiting access to some very popular riverside walks.  Waldie Island Trail is under several feet of water and will be closed until the fall, Selkirk College’s riverside paths are similarly inundated, and the Columbia Trail is impassable too.  However, a quick look through the Guidebook makes it clear we still have numerous walking and cycling options to choose from.

The Mel Deanna Trail is in excellent shape and the local Trails Society has this year assumed management from the province and made numerous tread improvements.  This short (5km) loop, or 3km to the ponds and back, is a mostly shaded walk which offers splendid scenery and great bird watching opportunities.  The Merry Creek Trails provide shade and some spectacular valley views for those choosing to the viewpoint loop.  And walking into McPhee Falls via the Skattebo Reach Trail takes you to some of the best natural air conditioning available.  Consult the Guidebook for more recreational trail choices in our area.

Castlegar Friends of Parks and Trails Society was established to encourage the creation, maintenance and use of environmentally-friendly, multi-use public trails through public education and direct trail development and maintenance activities.  The Society manages more than 80km of local trails for the free use and enjoyment of all.  You can find them on Facebook and at www.friendsoftrails.org.  The Trails Guidebook is also a Society fundraiser with 100% of proceeds going to build, maintain and improve local trails.  The Guidebook cost is $5 and it’s available at numerous locations around town, including the Visitor InfoCentre and Community Complex.

Happy Trails!

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