Nelway BC to Yahk Trans Canada Trail Route Assessment Report


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This is a 2004 report on the feasibility of a Trans Canada Trail route between Nelway and Yahk BC. Other routing options were eventually decided on, however this route option has the potentail to be a connecting spur trail to the TCT at Salmo

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Nelway BC to Yahk Trans Canada Trail Route Assessment Report

  1. 1. Oliver Thomae, R.P.F. 3116-5th St. South Cranbrook, B.C., V1C 6H7 250 426-3122 Al Skucas, Director, Rockies Region Trails B.C. 3200-4th St. South Cranbrook, B.C. V1C 5N5 July, 30 2005 Dear Al Skucas, Re: Assessment of Nelway to Yahk Route Options I am pleased to submit the draft report describing the assessment of the Nelway to Yahk trail route options we discussed. This report is based on the best readily available information pertaining to the area of interest. Map data was obtained from the Geographic Data B.C. warehouse, forest companies and other sources. Most features are current but some are a few years old which means that there may be minor changes in land ownership and road development and deactivation which are not captured in this mapping. However, overall it should provide a fairly realistic picture of jurisdictions and interests which are traversed by the route. Thank you for choosing ArbourTech for this project. Yours truly, Oliver Thomae, R.P.F. ArbourTech Forest Management Services Encl.: Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report
  2. 2. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Prepared for: Al Skucas, Regional Director, Trails B.C. Prepared by: Oliver Thomae, R.P.F. ArbourTech Forest Management Services July, 2005
  3. 3. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 3 Table of Contents 1.0 Acknowledgements: ......................................................................................................................................................... 4 2.0 Summary:.......................................................................................................................................................................... 5 3.0 Background: ..................................................................................................................................................................... 6 4.1 B.C. Government Guiding Principles:........................................................................................................................ 8 4.2 Trans Canada Trail Foundation Guiding Principles: ............................................................................................... 9 4.3 Other Considerations ................................................................................................................................................. 10 6.0 Methods:.......................................................................................................................................................................... 12 7.0 Route Area Description: ................................................................................................................................................ 12 8.0 Route Options:................................................................................................................................................................ 16 8.1 Nelway to Kootenay Summit ..................................................................................................................................... 16 8.11 Nelway-Stagleap Sector via Rosebud Lake and Stagleap Creek...................................................................... 16 8.12 Nelway – Lost Pass Sector ................................................................................................................................... 22 8.2 Kootenay Summit to Creston .................................................................................................................................... 27 8.21 Stagleap – Creston Sector via Monk, Boundary and Dodge Creek ................................................................ 28 8.22 Lost Pass – Creston Sector via Corn Creek ...................................................................................................... 34 8.23 Stagleap – Creston Sector via Summit Creek ................................................................................................... 39 8.3 Creston to Yahk.......................................................................................................................................................... 45 8.31 Creston–Yahk Sector via Thompson Mountain ............................................................................................... 46 8.32 Creston-Yahk Sector via Birch Creek ............................................................................................................... 49 8.33 Creston to Yahk via Mt. Thompson midslope. ................................................................................................. 57 8.34 Creston to Yahk Sector via Arrow and Kid Creek Options ............................................................................ 58 9.0 Route Development Costs .............................................................................................................................................. 62 10.0 Discussion: .................................................................................................................................................................... 63 11.0 Implementation Steps: ................................................................................................................................................. 65 12.0 Conclusions:.................................................................................................................................................................. 67 13.0 Recommendations: ....................................................................................................................................................... 68 14.0 References:.................................................................................................................................................................... 68 Appendix 1 Trail Classification Ratings Adapted from B.C. Parks Trail Planning and Construction Manual......... 69 Appendix 2 Contact List ..................................................................................................................................................... 70
  4. 4. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 4 1.0 Acknowledgements: The following people contributed valuable advice, assistance and/or information which supported the development of this report. Al Skucas, Regional Director, Trails B.C., Rockies Region Alex Johnston Creston Resident Anja Tolman B.C. Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management Arn von Maydell Area Manager, Bridges, Ministry of Transportation Dave Waugh Regional District of Central Kootenay Gillian Cooper Creston Valley Wildlife Center Grant Irvine Senior Transportation Planning Engineer Hans Buchwald Vector Road Landowner Jack Marra Tembec Industries Inc. Jack and Janet Sadler Proprietors of Yahk General Store Jeff Nicolajsen GIS Department, Regional District of East Kootenay Jim Smith Creston Valley Forest Corp. Keith Vonk Lost Creek Resident Kevin Maloney Nelway Resident and Forestry Technician Lawrence Lavender Councillor, Town of Creston Leon Mueller Councillor, Town of Creston Lola Monty Stagleap Ranch Lou Comin and John Solly Backcountry Horsemen Mike Leblanc Trans Canada Trail Foundation Coordinator Mike Pascuzzo (and Chris Kulak) Woodlands Manager, J.H. Huscroft Ltd. Pat Smith Creston Trails Committee Peter Rodenstein, David Sachs Imasco Minerals Inc. Ralph Moore East Kootenay Environmental Society Raymond Gaudart Trails B.C., Director, West Kootenays Rick Logan Kootenay Lake Forest District Rob Babiarz Ministry of Forests Engineering Officer Roy Simon Jenson Creek Landowner Salmo Public Library Historical Dewdney Trail Information Steve Flett Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management
  5. 5. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 5 2.0 Summary: The area of interest for this assessment lies within the Selkirk and southwestern Purcell mountain ranges. Terrain is rugged, and development of various kinds occupies the valley corridors. Local volunteers, resource companies and government staff were consulted to catalogue route options which have been or could be considered for the Trans Canada Trail from Nelway to Yahk. Additional route concepts delineated from mapping were also added. Most routes were visited in the field, and characterized using resource inventory mapping, to allow for their comparison. The area of interest was split into 3 sectors, Nelway to the Kootenay Summit, Kootenay Summit to Creston, and Creston to Yahk. In each sector at least 3 route options are possible to travel west-east. Unfortunately no route option is vastly superior to others, making the choice of an option a challenge. All options have a balance of features of interest as well as issues. Several issues identified have the potential to knock an option out of consideration. For example, highway bridges without pedestrian capability, private land blocking access, or a road through Indian Reserve each have the potential to become an irresolvable barrier. The single most critical factor in making any of the routes proposed workable, is a crossing of the Kootenay River in the Creston valley. The two sequential bridges on Highway 3 do not have full pedestrian capacity. An alternative exists for the western bridge, and there may be a solution in offsetting the roadway slightly on the main channel bridge to allow a dedicated pedestrian walkway. Discussions with Ministry of Transportation which were started in the late 1990s need to be resumed to implement a solution. Several other smaller highway bridges have similar limitations but they may be easier to resolve. Meanwhile, users continue to travel across the bridges as they are. If the bridge/river crossings can be resolved it will be possible to develop a trail route which can accommodate at least two modes-of-transport, likely hiking and cycling. There are portions of each route option which can accommodate horses, cross country-skiing and/or snowmobiling as well. The most optimistic route options, once bridge crossing issues are resolved, could be developed for approximately $50,000, or less if volunteers are capable and willing to take on the work. However, if bridges and highways require separate trail corridors, and additional trail is required to circumnavigate private lands, the total cost could well be 10 times that amount, and little opportunity will be available for volunteers to do the work. A route option that can be implemented by 2010 is outlined. A more direct route which accommodates more modes-of-transport and more average Canadians could be developed over a slightly longer time frame. Due to the uncertainty over trail routing, lack of signage and marking, and rugged terrain; trail use and demand for trail use in this area remain low. Local volunteers who worked with enthusiasm on trail planning and development a few years ago need support and assistance to overcome the enormous administrative and physical challenges involved with trail establishment.
  6. 6. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 6 3.0 Background: In the late 1990’s a citizen’s initiative to establish a trail across Canada was begun. Preliminary scoping by project leaders identified a general route through southern British Columbia not unlike the historic Dewdney Trail which linked Victoria and Vancouver to Ft. Steele in 1865, roughly along today’s Highway 3 corridor. Transport modes for the new trail are to include hiking, cycling, horses, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling where terrain and weather conditions allow. The current map of the designated route as found on the B.C. Trans Canada Trail web site is as follows: Although considerable route assessment work has been done by numerous dedicated volunteers and contractors, the trail route from Nelway to Yahk is still somewhat uncertain. This route section is characterized by portions of steep and high terrain, a mixture of private and crown lands, and a variety of utility and transport corridors.
  7. 7. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 7 The Chamber of Commerce office in Creston gets frequent enquiries on the Trans Canada Trail, and have been telling people it is not finished here yet, encouraging them to pick up the trail elsewhere. They would like to be able to direct visitors to useable trails. This project was initiated to work with volunteers to assess the route options in consideration of the diverse challenges this segment poses, and to assist Trails B.C. to select a preferred route for seeking approvals, registration and development. For the purpose of this assessment Nelway is given as the western control point1, and Yahk is the eastern control point. These points were specified by the Director, Rockies Region, Trails B.C. considering that the route from the west to Nelway is fairly certain and useable, and a previous route assessment report indicates a route from Yahk to Cranbrook would be feasible. Amenities are available 25 km north of Nelway in Salmo, and directly en-route in Creston and Yahk. Scenic Pend O’Reille river west of Nelway Pastoral views near Nelway. 1 A field check was made comparing the Salmo River route against the Pend O’Reille road route to Nelway to ascertain that this should indeed be the western control point. The Salmo river road had been suggested by previous trail planners, as it was the Dewdney Trail, and has better alignment. However the road is rough, poorly maintained, remote, and is blocked by private land and the Salmo River. Owner Kevin Maloney is opposed to having the trail cross his property. According to Raymond Gaudart, to circumvent this private land, a potential crossing of the Salmo river was considered using a Ministry of Transportation bailey bridge possibly to be installed by Canadian military near an existing water monitoring station. However, the Salmo river at the potential crossing site is wide with poor natural abutments. Overall, this route has limited features of interest and requires extensive work, in comparison to continuing along the Pend O’Reille road, which is currently useable, regularly maintained, has light traffic and is very scenic.
  8. 8. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 8 4.0 Guiding Principles 4.1 B.C. Government Guiding Principles: The following guiding principles are quoted from the B.C. Trans Canada Trail website. Emphasis has been added by this writer. Guiding Principles for the Trans Canada Trail in British Columbia These Guiding Principles provide broad policy direction for managers and users of the Trans Canada Trail in British Columbia and are subject to the legislation, regulations and policies of British Columbia. A companion document being developed (The Users Code of Ethics) provides trail users with further information regarding trail etiquette. These principles are endorsed by the Province of British Columbia, the Trails Society of British Columbia and the Trans Canada Trail Foundation. It should be recognized that the primary emphasis is to ensure that hikers can use the entire trail by the year 2000 and that the trail may not be open for all users by that time. 1: The Trans Canada Trail in BC (TCT) will provide a continuous recreational corridor from Victoria to the Alberta border. There will also be a portion of the TCT through northeastern BC, providing a link between Alberta and the Yukon. Wherever possible, practical, and safe to do so it will make use of existing trails and corridors. 2: A Trans Canada Trail through BC will exist in perpetuity. Where necessary, the specific route may be relocated to 1) meet public safety requirements; 2) address geotechnical concerns and/or environmental impacts; or 3) address significant land and resource development interests. 3: The trail will support the following core uses where appropriate and supported by the local community and managing agency: hiking, cross country skiing, bicycling, horseback riding and snowmobiling. 4: The Trans Canada Trail as a whole is not intended to be a linear park or protected area. Portions of the trail run through existing parks and protected areas. Designation of future parks and protected areas is an outcome of broader land use planning processes such as Land and Resource Management Plans (LRMP), and such areas may incorporate parts of the Trans Canada Trail. 5: The trail will seek to highlight and respect the natural and cultural heritage of British Columbia. 6: Management of the trail shall take place at the most local level possible. 7: Trail managers will practice a "good neighbor" policy with adjacent landowners and leaseholders. 8: It is recognized that the trail will traverse a variety of landscapes in BC, including parks and protected areas, urban and rural landscapes, working forests and other landscapes modified by resource development activities. In some locations, resource development activities will occur adjacent to, across, under, above or on the trail. 9: The trail will contribute to the social and economic well being of the province by providing appropriate recreational, economic and educational opportunities. 10: The establishment of the Trans Canada Trail is done without prejudice to First Nations treaty negotiations. 11: Trail designation and management will be consistent with regional and sub-regional land use plans. 12: In some instances, certain routes may be identified and recognized as interim until such time as a more suitable alignment can be secured. 13: Not all portions of the trail will support all uses, or be passable in all seasons. Sections may be closed temporarily to meet public safety or environmental objectives, and sections may not be open to some of the five
  9. 9. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 9 core uses. Different route alignments may be established to support the range of trail uses (i.e., trail users may be separated on certain segments, either by using different routes, or by physically separating users on the same route). 14: Proposed route alignments and design standards will be cost effective, considering costs of trail construction and maintenance and probable levels and types of use. 15: Existing legal motorized access will continue. Changes in usage may occur following community and agency consultation. 16: Where the trail is on private or leased Crown land, formal agreements will be sought as required with landowners and leaseholders. The trail will not use private or leased Crown lands without the consent of the land or lease holder; where agreements cannot be reached, alternate routes will be established. Lands will not be expropriated for the purposes of the trail. 17: Existing resource management commitments on Crown lands will continue. Future commitments can be made and will consider the existence of the trail through existing planning processes. 4.2 Trans Canada Trail Foundation Guiding Principles: Community Support The essential ingredient of any trail is that it be embraced by the community it is intended to serve. Any proposed route of the Trans Canada Trail that cannot demonstrate broad-based community support must be re-considered. Sustainability A trail requires ongoing investment in the form of management, maintenance, patrolling, amenities etc.. To sustain a trail over time, there must be a dedicated group in place that assumes this responsibility and is accountable to the community. Community support is the cornerstone to trail sustainability. Infrastructure Travelers on the Trans Canada Trail will require basic amenities to ensure a rewarding experience on the Trail. Infrastructure such as food, accommodation, fuel, access to tourist information must be available to the traveler to a reasonable degree. Travelers must be made to feel welcome in the community. Once again, the development of adequate infrastructure on a trail begins with community acceptance and support of the trail. Degree of Difficulty The Trans Canada Trail is intended to be accessible to the “average traveler” as distinct from the traveler seeking and capable of “extreme experiences”. The route of the Trail should, wherever the Canadian geography permits, be accessible to travelers that are in average physical shape and have average competence as hikers, cyclists, horseback riders, cross-country skiers or snowmobilers. Safety Traveler safety is of utmost importance on any trail. Routing decisions must be first and foremost predicated on the security of the users. Experiential The route of the Trail must strive to provide the traveler with typical Canadian experiences. The Trail should be viewed as a stage for a distinctive and memorable experience in history, culture, nature, geology, adventure etc.. The Trail is more than just a path on the ground, it should connect and involve travelers in the wonders and activities of the area. Time to Complete The Trans Canada Trail is striving to be substantially complete by 2010. Any proposed route that cannot be realistically completed by that date
  10. 10. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 10 must be re-considered, even if it is officially registered – other routing options must be identified. 4.3 Other Considerations In addition to the guiding principles, the following considerations were used to guide route selection and assessment: • Avoid private land. • Incorporate existing features and facilities. • Keep trail grades to under 10% wherever possible. • Trail routes should be as direct as possible, minimizing elevation range. • The lowest elevation route that would bypass obstacles and private land is preferred. • Use routes with lowest levels of motorized use. • Respect local and Provincial recreation access zoning. • Select routes that minimize the amount of additional maintenance required to keep trail serviceable. • Highways, except low speed limit portions through urban areas, are not considered suitable for horses • Public roads are not considered suitable for skiing or snowmobiling • Cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are limited to elevations over 1200m to ensure a reasonable quality of snow and duration of use.
  11. 11. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 11 5.0 Previous Route Assessments: Over the past several years, Trans Canada Trail routes have been proposed by volunteers and contractors working on trail planning using limited available resources. 1) Initial work by trail volunteers was mapped onto Forest Cover and other map bases, and digitized by the B.C. Government Land Use Coordination Office (LUCO) in 1998 and posted on the B.C. Government data ftp site2. Some routes were fairly precise as they followed existing roads or trails, and others were more general concepts. The LUCO mapping indicates the trail bypassing Nelway following the Salmo river eastward from just northwest of Remac along the Salmo River road to Highway 6, from where two options are shown. The southern option proceeds north to the Highway 3/6 junction and east along Highway 3. Just east of the junction, it proceeds east along the Lost creek road to Lost creek pass, appearing to follow either the gas line or powerline corridor over the pass, and down to the Highway 3 chainup area. Here it crosses Highway 3 and proceeds south on the Char creek road and a new trail connector proceeds south over a 1900m pass and back down to the Monk creek Forest Service Road. On this road it proceeds eastward, following an old road connector into the upper Priest River and along the Boundary creek road. A steep powerline road is depicted to connect to the Dodge creek Forest Service road leading down into the Creston valley. From the west side of the valley, a system of dykes is followed parallel to the International border and a water crossing over the Kootenay river is shown over to Rykerts and up along Highway 21 to Creston. The northern option also shares the Lost Creek route over the Kootenay summit and across Highway 3 into Char creek, but immediately turns east along Summit creek appearing to use partly the gas line right-of-way, and partly new trail, to the Creston Valley. The LUCO mapping does not indicate this trail following some old road segments mapped in its proximity, but there appears to have been the potential to locate a few kilometers of this route on old road grades. In the Creston valley, the route follows the dyke along the Kootenay river north along dykes next to the Kootenay River channel, crossing the Kootenay river near Duck Lake, continuing northeast along the northern Duck lake dyke, and up Highway 3a to Kuskanook, where it proceeds northeast along Boulder creek, Skelly creek and via Perry creek into Cranbrook. As this route does not share the control point (Yahk) specified for this project, it was not considered in this assessment. 2) The results of work by West Kootenay trail volunteers was captured in a publication by Mussio Ventures and Trails B.C. titled Trans Canada Trail, the British Columbia Route, copyright 2001. The Mussio Ventures guide indicates a primary trail route, alternatives and future route options as follows: The indicated route comes east from Waneta along the Pend D’Oreille river road onto the Salmo river road, bypassing Nelway. It then crosses the Salmo river to use Highway 6 to travel northward to the Highway 3/6 junction. From here it follows Highway 3 eastward to the Lost creek road and continues up this road over the Kootenay summit along the original Dewdney trail. From the summit area it continues eastward to connect to Highway 3 at the chain-up area east of Stagleap Park. An alternate route would use the Highway 3 corridor through Kootenay summit in Stagleap Park. An additional alternate route would exit Highway 3 at the Stagleap Park summit on the Monk Creek Forest Service road to Boundary creek and on to Dodge creek leading to the Creston valley. Highway 3 is indicated as the primary route from the Kootenay summit to Creston, with a future route indicated on the south side of Summit creek. All routes indicated would use the Kootenay river bridge in Creston to cross the Kootenay river. The main route continues east along Highway 3 through Creston, with an alternate indicated along the Lakeview-Arrow creek road north of Creston. Highway 3 is indicated as the primary route east of Creston to Yahk, with an “abandoned rail” line shown as proposed route to Yahk as well. One additional alternate follows Kidd creek to the Moyie river drainage bypassing Yahk. 2
  12. 12. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 12 3) The Regional District of Central Kootenay commissioned a report prepared by Hanne Smith-Heintz in March 2001, entitled Trans Canada Trail, Linking Communities Initiative, Kootenay Loop Trail Project, Final Report. This project was a cooperative effort by “four trail stewardship groups, several communities and the Regional District of Central Kootenay, in an effort to make progress on the vision of linking communities to the Trans Canda Trail via trails”. Funding was provided by the Ministry of Community Development, Cooperatives and Volunteers. The report depicts the Trans Canada Trail along the Salmo river and then proceeding eastward along Lost creek. A connector trail is proposed along the Highway 3/6 corridor to Salmo, Nelson and Castlegar. 4) As noted in the introduction, the current Trails B.C. Trans Canada Trail website indicates the route approximately along the Highway 3 (Crowsnest Highway) corridor. 6.0 Methods: 1) Digital map data was requested and obtained from the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management. Data supplied was limited to contours, water features, and partial roads coverage. The Kootenay Lake and Arrow- Boundary forest districts provided additional data for land ownership. More current roads mapping was provided by Tembec Inc., J.H. Huscroft Ltd., Creston Valley Forest Corp. and B.C. Timber Sales. 2) Trails B.C. Director, Al Skucas, provided existing paper background maps, and information on route location reconnaissance work which he and others had already conducted. A variety of reference materials were also provided including current route mapping, trail standards etc. 3) Trail volunteers were contacted to obtain updated information on route concepts they had in mind, or thought might be viable. 4) Field reconnaissance was undertaken to assess route concepts for their technical, logistical and jurisdictional feasibility. Reconnaissance work attempted to connect existing trails and low use roads in consideration of the TCT Foundation objective of accommodating average Canadians. In consideration of travelers attempting to traverse extensive portions of the Provincial or National trail, route concepts sought to provide reasonably direct alignment, with minimal drastic elevation changes, , while at the same time either directly or indirectly incorporating features and views. 5) Route reconnaissance was recorded by Global Positioning System for transfer to digital mapping. 6) Primary route options are shown as solid line, with alternates shown in dashed line. The routes are segmented into uniform characteristics which are then recorded in a spreadsheet table. 7) Route segments are classified into categories representing their current condition, mode of transport capability and required development. Approximate cost estimates for development activities are computed. 8) Each segment is described and discussed in the report text. 9) A route assessment comparison matrix was prepared. 7.0 Route Area Description: Nelway is situated at an elevation of 780m and the destination, Yahk, is at 860m elevation 89.3 km to the east as the crow flies. Ecology The study area ecology is summarized in Ecosection Summaries For The Kootenay Boundary Region, by Quesnel, H.J., and Thiessen, F.N., Ministry of Forests, 1993. As it is succinct and complete it is simply quoted here for reference. “Selkirk Foothills Ecosection (Area from Nelway to Salmo, western 1/4 of study area)
  13. 13. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 13 This ecosection extends from within Washington and Idaho, south of the international border, to Monashee pass, in the north, and from the upper part of the Kettle River, in the west, to the Salmo river valley, in the east. This ecosection is a subdued mountain area dissected by wide valleys and trenches. The mountains have less relief than ranges to the north and east. Elevations range from 450m in the valley bottoms to 2400m on the highest peaks. The area covers the eastern Okanagan highland and southern Selkirk mountains. These mountains and highlands are underlain by folded sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, some volcanics, and granitic intrusives. Shallow and deep colluvial deposits and associated bedrock are the most common landforms. Less extensive deposits or moraine, glaciofluvial, and recent fluvials occur on lower slopes and valley bottoms. Rain shadows are common in the valleys around Castlegar and Trail. The most common sequences of biogeoclimatic zones consists of low elevation Interior Cedar-Hemlock and mid to high elevation Engelmann Spruce – Subalpine Fir. High elevation Alpine Tundra occurs only on a few high ridges. The driest part of the ecosection has Interior Douglas-fir at low elevations near Lower Arrow lake. Low elevations in this ecosection have the greatest diversity of tree species in British Columbia. Seral stands include western larch, Douglas-fir, lodgepole pine, western white pine, ponderosa pine, and, occasionally, grand fir on low to mid elevations and lodgepole pine at higher elevations. Subalpine parkland sites may have alpine larch. The Alpine Tundra has extensive areas of willows, bear-grass, sedges, grasses, Sitka valerian and mountain heathers. Floodplains, riparian areas, and lakes are important habitat for bird species including osprey, bald eagle, and great blue heron. Drier areas on low to mid elevations are utilized by mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, and black bear. High elevation forested areas with interspersed avalanche tracks provide habitat for grizzly bear, black bear, elk, mule deer, moose, and caribou. Alpine parkland areas have caribou, grizzly bear, mule deer, elk, wolverine, and white- tailed ptarmigan. This landscape is drained by the Columbia (Lower Arrow lake), the Granby, and the Salmo rivers. The main valley orientation is north-south with the tributary valleys flowing east or west. Recreational opportunities in this hilly, forested landscape, occur at all elevations and throughout the year. In the valley bottoms, opportunities are concentrated on Christina and Arrow lakes which provide for boating, swimming, and fishing. The Columbia river provides a long season for boating and fishing. The Granby river is popular for boating during high water. The upland areas provide dispersed recreation during all seasons for camping, hiking, hunting, and snowmobiling. Accessible areas of the alpine are used for skiing and snowmobiling. Southern Columbia Mountains Ecosections (Eastern 3/4 of study area.) This ecosection extends from within Idaho and Montana, south of the international border, to Crawford bay and the west arm of Kootenay lake, in the north, and from the mouth of the Slocan river, in the west, to Moyie lake, in the east. The ecosection has high ridges and mountains interspersed with wide valleys and trenches. It includes the southern half of Kootenay lake and the Creston valley. Elevations range from 500m to over 2300m. There are no glaciers in this part of the Columbia mountains. This area covers the southern Selkirk and southwestern Purcell mountains. It is more subdued and rounded than northern parts of these mountain ranges. Bedrock types include granitic batholiths, folded sedimentary rocks, and low grade metamorphic rocks. Shallow culluvium, with associated bedrock are the most common landforms. Less extensive deposits of deep colluvium, moraine, and glaciofluvial occur at lower elevations. Minor deposits of recent flucvial occur around the larger rivers. Precipitation is high on mountain slopes. The sequence of biogeoclimatic zones is low to mid elevation Interior Cedar-Hemlock and high elevation Engelmann Spruce – Subalpine Fir. High elevation Alpine Tundra occurs occasionally on some mountains. Seral stands include Douglas-fir, western larch, western white pine, and lodgepole pine at low to mid elevation, and lodgepole pine and whitebark pine and at high elevations. Alpine larch occurs in the subalpine parkland and in the upper elevations of the Engelmann Spruce-Subalpine Fir zone. A unique feature of the ecosection is bear-grass as a dominant herb at mid to high elevation. The Alpine Tundra is dominated by rock, snow, and ice. Vegetated areas form a minor component of this zone and have willows, buttercups, bear-grass, sedges, grasses, and mountain-heathers. In the Creston valley, the Kootenay river floodplain produces substantial numbers of diving and dabbling ducks, western grebe, red-necked grebe, great blue heron, and Forster’s tern. The Creston valley wetlands are also an important migratory staging area for the Canada goose, tundra swan, and other waterfowl. The Coeur d’Alene
  14. 14. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 14 salamander, a species unique to this ecosection, occurs in riparian areas, wetlands, meadows, and floodplains in the dry and very dry parts of the Interior Cedar-Hemlock zone. Floodplain and riparian areas also have white-tailed deer, elk, and caribou. Parkland areas have caribou, grouse, white-tailed ptarmigan, and Columbia ground squirrel, while rugged warm aspects support mountain goat. The South Selkirk caribou herd is internationally significant. In Canada, the habitat for this species is limited to an area from the international border near Stagleap Park north to Porcupine creek. This landscape is dominated by steep to subdued and rounded mountains. The main valley is dominated by the Kootenay river and the west and south arms of Kootenay lake. Kootenay lake provides year-round recreation for boating, fishing, and camping. The area is very scenic and the hillsides adjacent to the main valleys are an important visual resource. Recreational opportunities are found at all elevations and occur all seasons. These include camping, viewing, hunting, fishing, skiing, and snowmobiling. When accessible, skiing and snowmobiling occur in subalpine and alpine areas.” The east-west corridor in which this trail route is to be located is bisected by the north-south flowing Kootenay River in the Creston valley; a major river ranging from about one hundred to several hundred meters in width, and surrounded by sloughs, wetlands, oxbows and dykes. From the U.S. border to Kootenay Lake, there is only one bridge crossing and that is located on Highway 3. A second bridge on that same route crosses an old Kootenay River channel parallel to the main river just to the west. Several other smaller rivers and tributaries must also be crossed on this route. In addition this route must cross a major north-south oriented mountain range, the Nelson Range of the Selkirk Mountains, between the Salmo and Creston valleys. Land status is primarily Crown land, but significantly large blocks of private land exist along most of the valley corridors. The study area falls within the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa Kinbasket tribes. Several Indian Reserves for the Lower Kootenay Band of the Ktunaxa Kinbasket Tribal Council are situated along the Creston valley. Blocks of Agricultural Land Reserve are designated in the Nelway to Salmo corridor, Creston valley, lower Arrow creek, lower Goat river, and the corridor from Kid creek to Goatfell. Many valley corridors have been developed with gas and electrical utility corridors, timber harvesting roads and/or mining roads. Most of the trail length on Crown land is Provincial Forest, which is used for timber harvesting and other resource activities. The study corridor contains mining and quarrying areas, domestic and community watersheds, electrical transmission lines and gas pipelines. Special features include a small picnic site located on the south end of Rosebud lake. Stagleap Provincial Park has hiking trails, a warming hut, toilets and a picnic area. A cabin is jointly managed by the Creston Snowmobile club and Ministry of Forests at Char creek, and a second cabin is jointly managed by the Creston Cross Country Ski Club and Ministry of Forests in Ripple creek. Hiking trails are currently established at/to Heather lake near Stagleap Park, Nun lake, the “Rim” overlooking the Creston valley from the east, and an interpretive trail at Ladyslipper northeast of Creston. The Boundary lake forest service recreation site has campsites, picnic tables, outhouses, and wharves. The Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area has trails and interpretive facilities as well as a visitor center. Yahk Provincial Park provides camping in a shady riverside setting. Amenities including camping, lodging, food services, fuel, and supplies are available in Salmo, Creston (and surrounds), and Yahk. Communication via cell phone is limited to the major urban areas as shown on the current Telus Mobility coverage map below. All route options have similar cell coverge, limited to the Creston valley.
  15. 15. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 15 Telus Mobility Cell Phone Coverage Map (as at July, 2005) The Kootenay Boundary Land Use Plan Implementation Strategy3 indicates that the proposed trail corridor contains the following resource values and features: • Most of the area is designated for low to medium emphasis biodiversity management • Nelway to Creston and Yahk are in regional connectivity corridors • Nelway to Creston has high quality grizzly bear habitat • Ungulate winter range habitat is found in low elevation valley bottoms • Kootenay Summit is mountain caribou habitat • Dozens of domestic watersheds are located along the valley corridors • Community watersheds are designated on Arrow, Cameron, Camp Run, Duck, Floyd, Mortimer, Russell, South Rykert, Sullivan, Teetzel, Twin Bays, and Urmston Creeks.4 • The Highway 3 corridor is Class 1 regionally significant visual area • Major valleys are designated as human settlement corridors • Timber Enhanced Development Zones are designated at Dodge Creek, and between Creston and Yahk A search of the B.C. Conservation Data Center5, covering the Interior Cedar-Hemlock and Engelmann Spruce Subalpine Fir zones (finest level of resolution available) within the Arrow Boundary and Kootenay Lake Forest Districts, yielded the following numbers of species at risk or of concern: • 8 mammals • 11 birds • 8 fish • 108 plants • 6 reptiles • 11 slugs/snails • 4 clams/mussels • 2 insects • 1 bat • 1 turtle Many of these species are associated with aquatic habitats which should not be impacted with trail development. Others are less specific, but generally, development of the trail using existing roads and trails, and a minimal footprint of additional connector trail as proposed, should not pose additional risk to these species. 3 Kootenay Boundary Land Use Plan, Implementation Strategy, June 1997, Kootenay Inter-Agency Management Committee. 4 Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management Website: Community Watershed Data June, 2005,[[s/waterbpt/cwsnew 5
  16. 16. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 16 Most of the potential routes traverse Crown land assigned to forest companies or woodlot owners for timber harvesting rights. Opportunities to link harvest roads and skid trails into a trail corridor were assessed. Tembec Inc., J.H. Huscroft, Creston Valley Forest Corp, and B.C. Timber Sales staff have greatly assisted in providing road data and/or suggesting route corridors that minimize conflict between industrial and trail use. Existing forest roads (not considering highways and public roads) provide access valued at over $500,000 if they had to be constructed as virgin trail. 8.0 Route Options: For the purpose of assessment, route options have been configured to reflect southern, intermediate or northern alignments. However, it is possible for example, to mix and match a southern route in the west with a more northern option in the east. The trail route has been sequentially numbered in segments for correlation with map and spreadsheet data. Each segment has somewhat uniform administrative or physical characteristics which suggest it to be managed as an entity for planning purposes. Numbering is assigned in intervals of 5 to allow for finer resolution numbering in future more detailed planning and layout. Only segments with elevations generally above 1200m elevation were considered suitable for skiing and snowmobiling. Lower segments are useable at times but conditions may be quite variable. For cycling and cross-country skiing, grades averaging over 10% were not considered suitable for average Canadians. It was assumed that equestrian use would not be appropriate on highway shoulders due to the high speed of traffic. Modes of transport are classified by the potential of the segment when completed, and may not currently be useable. Codes are as follows: H Hiking C Cycling (may require mountain bike where off public road shoulder) E Equestrian S Cross-country skiing M Snowmobiling 8.1 Nelway to Kootenay Summit In addition to following the highway 6 and 3 corridors, there are 3 primary route options from Nelway to the Kootenay summit. • Nelway to Stagleap Park via Rosebud lake and Stagleap creek. • Nelway to Lost Pass via Highway 6 and Lost creek • Nelway to Lost Pass via Rosebud lake and Lost creek. With Nelway designated as a control point, all route options would commence at the junction of the Pend d’Oreille Road and Highway 6 at Nelway, immediately north of the United States border crossing. Nelway itself does not currently provide any amenities other than public toilets and information available at the Canada Customs office. Nelway may however provide an economic opportunity in the future for development of a small facility providing food, lodging and supplies. Visitors otherwise would need to go out of their way to Salmo, about 25 km north along Highway 6, to find amenities. (If the Lost Creek option via Vector road is chosen as the trail route, Salmo would only be about half that distance out of the way for travelers.) 8.11 Nelway-Stagleap Sector via Rosebud Lake and Stagleap Creek (NWSL), 32.4 km total length. This route combines numerous secondary or abandoned existing roads, with a significant component of new trail that would have to be constructed. NWSL 05 (2.2km, HCE) The route would use the Highway 6 shoulder for the first 2.2 kilometers.
  17. 17. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 17 The Canada Customs building at the border crossing in Highway 6 shoulder between Nelway and Salmo. Nelway. NWSL 10 (3.4km, HCE) and NWSL 15 (0.6km, HCE connector to Rosebud Lake) This option would use the Rosebud lake road to avoid Highway 6. This route follows a gentle, two-lane, gravel, public road to Rosebud lake. Via a 0.6km level connector, a small picnic/camp site is available along the shore of this scenic, small lake, along with a bear-proof garbage receptacle. The Regional District is considering development of a Regional Park at or near this site6. Part way around the lake on the north side, the road is gated and marked “private land, no-trespassing”. The road continues on through the private land and has gentle grades that would make an ideal trail route that links back onto this option, if an agreement could be arranged with the landowners. Rosebud lake road is scenic with modest grades, good sight Rosebud lake has several shoreline picnic/camp sites. lines, and passing room. NWSL 20 (0.6km, HCE) Because the road around the lake is gated off, the trail route concept discussed here would circumnavigate the lake and lakeshore private lands on the south side, partly using this segment of powerline road. Permission would be required from B.C. Transmission Corp. 6 Kevin Maloney, Pers. Comm.
  18. 18. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 18 Road through private land is gated but would make ideal trail route An electrical transmission line runs east-west south of Rosebud if agreement could be reached with private land owners. lake. Parts of the road would be suitable as trail. NWSL 25 (1.6km, HCE) This is a currently useable alternate, of unknown status, but has poor horizontal alignment adding 0.7 km to the route length. It uses the existing powerline access roads, and could serve until a more direct, almost level connector trail (NWSL30) could be constructed across the base of a small hill. NWSL 30 (0.9km, HCE) This segment would need to be constructed across a moderately-sloped base of a steep knoll to get a near level connector with good horizontal alignment. This segment has only been map-assessed for feasibility and may need to be modified at layout. NWSL 35 (1.3km, HCE) This segment follows an existing non-status road to a powerline across the small, upper valley corridor of Eldorado Creek. There is much evidence of grizzly bear activity in this area as the lush valley bottom provides spring forage. This area is used by visitors from Salmo to Nelson and beyond for motorized and non-motorized recreation. Existing powerline access road. Grizzly bears use roadway extensively in spring. NWSL 40 (1.5km, HCE) This segment follows under a powerline on the powerline maintenance road. Grades are steep for cycling in places but it is useable in its current state and some maintenance by B.C. Transmission Corp. can be anticipated. NWSL 45 (5.7km, HCE)
  19. 19. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 19 This segment would require new trail construction along the upper shoulder of the South Salmo river. Access for work crews is poor. Terrain is moderate to steep but soils appear to be workable judging from field check of the north end. Vegetation is fairly lush so a 3m right-of-way clearing should be considered. Grades could be very gentle for most of the segment just bypassing a block of private land, indicated on the ownership mapping, (but not confirmed) near Rainy creek. At least one-half of this segment passes through what is mapped as operable timber, so it may be that in time, the timber operator, here B.C. Timber Sales, might be interested to build logging road that could be used as trail. Rainy creek and an unnamed stream at the southeast end may require footbridges. As this is a northeast aspect, it will be important to maintain good drainage along this segment. Terrain hazard mapping should also be checked. NWSL 50 (0.5km, HCE) This segment would use an existing Forest Service road and bridge across the South Salmo river at Lead creek. Existing Forest Service road at Lead creek indicating deactivation. Forest Service road bridge across Stagleap Creek. NWSL 55 (1.4km, HCE) This segment would use an old road grade which is currently serving as a trail. It had been recently brushed out just prior to field reconnaissance. A few dozen meters are washed out and wet area which could/should be repaired. Periodic brushing would be required along this segment which parallels the South Salmo river to its confluence with Stagleap creek. It is not known who did the brushing work but perhaps a local group would continue to take on maintenance. This segment passes through what is indicated on the ownership mapping as a Provincial Reserve which may be reserved for sand and gravel quarry purposes. Therefore it may be necessary to realign the trail if quarrying takes place. Although somewhat grown in, this segment is currently being used Wet section should have drainage enhanced. as a trail.
  20. 20. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 20 NWSL 60 (0.4km, HCE) This is a connector segment to proceed from the NWSL 55 trail to an old road shown on government maps indicated as NWSL65. There may be old road or trail grade useable for the connector, but it appears to be obscure due to impacts of highway construction, water erosion and brush encroachment. NWSL 65 (1.4km, HCE) This segment would use an old road grade that is substantially grown over. It was only partially field checked due to heavy brush invasion. Some drainage improvement is likely to be necessary. NWSL 70 (1.4km, HCE) This segment currently serves as a quarry access road posted “no entry”. It appears to receive limited use and would make an attractive trail route, being reasonably separated from the highway above and the creek below. Permission to use as trail would need to be obtained from Ministry of Transportation. This segment is currently posted no entry due to its access This segment would make a scenic trail corridor if to a quarry. authorization can be obtained from Ministry of Transportation. NWSL 75 (6.9km, HCE) This segment continues to follow parallel to Stagleap creek and Highway 3 on an old mapped road grade. The grade is partially visible but heavily grown in. At the west end it starts above a quarry. The east end could not be found in several reconnaissance traverses, and may have been excavated during quarry construction. Two examples of old road grade which is heavily grown in and erosion damaged.
  21. 21. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 21 Views looking at fill slope below Highway 3 at the base of which this segment would be located. NWSL 80 (0.6km, HCE) This segment would use an existing quarry access road situated within Stagleap Provincial Park. This road needs some drainage improvement as a highway culvert spills its discharge partly onto the road grade. Although a quarry access road, it does not appear to be posted “no-entry”. Quarry access road showing water damage on surface. Winter avalanche control takes place in this area. NWSL 85 (2.5km, HC) This segment would use the Highway 3 shoulder over the Kootenay Summit in Stagleap Park. A log structure warming hut, toilets, picnic area and subalpine trails are located at the summit. In mid to late winter, avalanche control activities in the summit area may lead to closure of the road at times. Warming hut and toilets at summit. Sign posted on door of warming hut indicates it is available for day use only.
  22. 22. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 22 Warming hut has wood stove, picnic table and interpretive View across Bridal Lake to a picnic area on the east shore. information. Sign posted on warming hut reminds visitors that the Kootenay View of Bridal Lake at Kootenay summit. Stagleap FSR departs summit is avalanche hazard area. highway in center of photo. 8.12 Nelway – Lost Pass Sector – includes NWSL 05 (NWLP) 30.0km direct up to 40.2km total length if required to use Vector Rd. option. The Lost Pass route has been nominated by local planning groups for several years, as it has good east-west alignment, and somewhat follows the original route of the Dewdney Trail. However, in recent years issues have surfaced regarding road status across private land in the lower end of the valley, as discussed further below. A mining operation is also located in this drainage, but discussion with senior staff7 has indicated a willingness to work out road use if the private land issue can be resolved. There are additional blocks of private land further up Lost creek as well. With the uncertainty in the lower blocks, there may also be unresolved status issues through these. Further research into land ownership, road status and future resource development interests is recommended, should this option be favoured. The route has some avalanche hazard potential in the headwaters of Lost creek. NWLP 05 (8.2 km, HC) and NWLPR 05 This segment picks up from the Rosebud lake road turnoff and continues north on Highway 6, using the highway shoulder. The Salmo river bridge is problematic as it does not provide for pedestrian travel. It is however short and visibility is good in both directions. 7 David Sachs, President, IMASCO, Pers. Comm.
  23. 23. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 23 Highway 6 has good shoulders, reasonable visibility, and The bridge across South Salmo river however, has no modest traffic levels. pedestrian capacity. An alternative originally intended for the South Salmo river option is shown on the Land Use Coordinating Office mapping using an old abandoned railway or highway grade for 4.2 km near Highway 6 which would allow the trail to be located off the highway except for the South Salmo river bridge crossing. If to be used by horses, they would have to ford the river or a new dedicated pedestrian bridge would need to be added. The grade is heavily grown over and obscure in places. For estimating purposes it has been assumed to require equivalent to new-trail construction, but it may be considerably less if the grade is still intact. The original Dewdney Trail did not have a South Salmo river crossing, rather crossing the Salmo River north of the confluence with the South Salmo river. A further alternative is to follow the NWSL route to Rosebud Lake, and then follow an old highway grade west and north to near the Salmo river bridge, then use the highway across the bridge and then back onto the Dewdney Trail route. This route has good grades and scenic vistas, but requires repairs to a major washout.8 The same uncertainty over the Lost creek road private lands affects this option. Most optimistically this option would have a route length of 34.8km. NWLP 10 (1.8 km, HC) This segment would use the Highway 3 shoulder from the Highway 3/6 junction to the Lost Creek road entrance. A small highway rest stop is located on the south side of Highway 3 across from the Lost creek road entrance. NWLP 15 (1.3km, HCE) (Alternates through Lot 9784 and Vector Road) This segment would proceed from Highway 3 up the Lost creek road through private land currently owned by Kieth Vonk. The Vonk’s have purchased this property within the past two years and are currently involved in litigation over the road right-of-way which they say is private, and they have gated the road and posted it “no- trespassing”. They have located a mobile, and have plans to build a permanent residence fairly close to the road, and therefore do not want the road open to the public.9 The Lost Creek road is used by B.C. Hydro, Terasen Gas, IMASCO, and others. According to the Ministry of Forests engineering officer10, the lower Lost creek road is not a Forest Service road and may well be a private right-of-way. The B.C. Timber Sales Program is the forestry operator here but do not have any plans to acquire access to this area in the foreseeable future. However, it is believed by some to be the original route of the Dewdney Trail which may make it qualify as a “Section 4” highway.11 The status of the road access is uncertain at this time, and cannot be relied upon for a trail route. 8 Kevin Maloney, Pers. Comm. 9 Kieth Vonk, Owner Lot 9785, Pers. Comm. 10 Rob Babiarz, Arrow Boundary Forest District Engineering Officer, Pers. Comm. 11 Dave Wahn, Planner, Regional District of Central Kootenay, Pers. Comm.
  24. 24. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 24 Two options could be considered to bypass this private land barrier. One involves locating a trail off Highway 3 beginning somewhat to the west (without encroaching on Stagleap Ranch, whose owners are opposed to the trail crossing their land12). An existing trail corridor is located about 50-100m north of the highway along a steep bank. It has a wide tread, is substantially overgrown in a few places, and has extensive knapweed invasion, but provides scenic vistas and is far enough from the highway and South Salmo river to make them unobtrusive. If it could be agreeable to the next landowner, it could climb up the slope to cross over to the Lost creek road just north of Vonk’s property, on another private parcel which had the Dewdney Trail crossing it, (Lot 9784) owned by Karen Bryant. Karen Bryant could not be reached via her last known contact. If this route is to be further considered, contact should be made to determine if she is still owner and/or would be agreeable to accommodating the trail through her property. This option would have a negligible impact on overall trail length or viability, but would require administrative, layout and construction work to be implemented. Signs and locked gates have made the Lost creek road inaccessible Lost Creek Rest Area south of Highway 3 to the public from Highway 3. Along the South boundary of Stagleap Ranch, a cleared roadway Views to the highway and river below indicate the degree of along a terrace margin would make an ideal trail if negotiations separation. with the owners could allow for its use. 12 Lola Monty, Stagleap Ranch, Pers. Comm..
  25. 25. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 25 Where the original route was eliminated by rock blasting for the At the boundary of Lot 9784, the trail is marked “no-trespassing, highway, a high quality bypass trail was constructed. and becomes obscure. Dewdney Trail route and historical features in Nelway to Lost pass corridor.13 13 Bishop, D. and Field, Salmo Arts and Museum Society, Dewdney Trail, 1865, Sept. 1989.
  26. 26. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 26 A second option would involve continuing 8.7km north on Highway 3/6 from the junction, and proceeding east on Vector road. This road climbs steeply up the slope through a series of switchbacks, passes through private land owned by Hans Buchwald, then proceeds south to connect to the Lost creek road east of the properties in question noted above. Hans Buchwald does not object to the trail passing through his property, but is not certain of the status of the road through his land. This poses some risk to route delineation in case of change of ownership. Road status should be verified if this route is favoured. This option would not require new trail construction but would require additional marking. It would add approximately 10 km to the trail route and some additional climb and descent. It is recommended that dialogue be maintained with Peter Rodenstein, Plant Manager for Imasco in Creston, and Kieth Vonk, landowner of Lot 9785, as they are involved in litigation to resolve the road access situation for this area. NWLP 20 (0.2km, HCE) This portion is a short segment indicated according to ownership data to be on Crown land between large private parcels. NWLP 25 (0.5km, HCE) This segment would use the Lost Creek road through another large block indicated on the ownership layer to be private land. At this time there do not appear to be issues with use of the road through this property, but its status should be checked if this route is to be further considered. NWLP 30 (1.1km, HCE) This segment of non-status road appears to be situated on Crown land, overtop of the original Dewdney Trail. NWLP 35 (1.5km, HCE) This segment of the Lost creek road passes through a block of land indicated on ownership mapping as private. However it appears by current use that it is recognized resource road established over the original Dewdney Trail. Status should be confirmed prior to formalizing use. NWLP 40 (11.1km, HCESM) This segment also follows the Lost creek road along the powerline which generally follows the Dewdney Trail. A few remnants of Dewdney Trail are reported to be visible near Lost creek just off the road. NWLP 45 (2.2km, HEM) and alternate NWLPDT This segment is the highest segment of the Lost creek powerline road which climbs steeply on the south side of the Lost creek valley headwaters to the Lost pass summit at 1930m elevation. A spur north continues to the gas line crossing at the summit. Alternatively the actual Dewdney Trail route, NWLPDT, is slightly to the north, following the gas line corridor over the summit and continuing down mid-slope. The western portion of the trail is not very distinct through some of this area, having been broken up by gas line, powerline and road construction, and heavy vegetation growth. Tread width is generally about 30cm, and grades are moderate averaging 12%14. The trail is signed at the summit. Entrance points are not easy to find due to extensive alder invasion, and the easternmost part is very wet through marshy ground for considerable length. Here large spruce trees have been fallen along the trail to get across wet areas. The trail has been heavily disturbed by a major avalanche path. There is evidence of light use, possibly including pack horses. In its current state it would be difficult to ride a horse through; but possible to lead a packhorse through. If this trail was to be used it would require significantly improved 14 Kevin Maloney, Pers. Comm.
  27. 27. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 27 marking, brushing, debris clearing through avalanche zone, avalanche warning signs, and tread improvement through wet areas. Trail placards are posted on the summit portion, but it is not shown The summit ridge is rocky and open. Here the trail is moderately as a Forest Service Trail on Recreation Maps. easy to follow. The trail crosses the gas line right of way just east of the summit. Gradually the trail becomes more grown in. In the timbered area the trail is barely discernable. A 100m wide avalanche path has strewn debris across the trail. 8.2 Kootenay Summit to Creston In addition to the highway corridor, there are several route alternatives from the Kootenay summit to Creston. Several additional variations are possible. • Stagleap Park to Creston via Stagleap creek, Monk creek, Boundary creek and Dodge creek Forest Service roads • Lost Pass to Creston via North Summit, Maryland and Corn creeks.
  28. 28. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 28 • Lost Pass to Creston via Summit creek riparian • Lost Pass to Creston via Summit creek midslope 8.21 Stagleap – Creston Sector via Monk, Boundary and Dodge Creek (SLDC) 73.2 km total length Continuing east from Stagleap Park, the southernmost option is to take the Stagleap Forest Service road through Stagleap Park to the Monk creek forest service road and on to the Boundary creek Forest Service road and over a ridge to the Dodge creek forest service road which descends into the Creston valley. For assessment this sector here is described as incorporating a route into Creston using the old ferry crossing across the Kootenay river, even though no crossing is currently available there. This route could alernatively continue north along West Creston road crossing the Kootenay river on the main bridge on Highway 3. This sector is remote and long with no amenities except for the Boundary lake recreation site. Resource roads make up most of this sector which would otherwise be very difficult to construct and maintain. The area is scenic, lush, and serene giving the sense of a backcountry environment. Development cost would be limited to signage and optional construction of a 2.1 km connector trail to avoid using the existing steep powerline road. The Stagleap Park boundary summit on the Stagleap Forest Service road is 1970m high and as the segment within the park is on a north aspect and well shaded, it does not become snowfree until the end of June in an average snow year. Land Use Coordination Office mapping from 1998 indicates a route option from Highway 3 to the Monk creek FSR via Char creek. This route would use existing roads for about 2/3 of the length and require new connector trail for 4.0 km over a 1900m high pass. Other variations near the pass are also possible. This option offers little advantage, a 70m lower pass over the Stagleap Forest Service road option, but would require more work to develop. It would however support snowmobile use which is restricted in Stagleap Park. SLDC 05 (2.9km, HCES) This section would use the existing Stagleap Forest Service road as it departs from the highway 3 summit in Stagleap Park to the south. It winds up and over a ridge to a summit at 1980m elevation at the southern Park boundary, and then descends to connect to the Boundary creek Forest Service road via the Monk creek Forest Service road. This road is not expected to have any logging traffic for the foreseeable future as restrictions for Caribou habitat have curtailed further timber harvesting for several decades.15 The Stagleap FSR is not maintained. However, the road is in good condition. 15 Mike Pascuzzo, Woodlands Manager, J.H. Huscroft Ltd., Pers. Comm.
  29. 29. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 29 Snowmobiles are not permitted in the Park. Snow prohibits use of this road for hiking/cycling over the pass to the end of June. SLDC 10 (5.2km, HCES) This segment descends from the southern Stagleap Park boundary along a tributary to Monk creek, across a powerline, and onto the main Monk creek forest service road. SLDC 15 (7.8km, HCESM) This segment would use the Monk creek forest service road to the junction with the Maryland creek Forest Service road (FSR) in the upper Priest river drainage. Sign at junction of Monk Creek FSR with Maryland Creek Monk Creek FSR parallels a powerline corridor. FSR. SLDC 20 (18.3km, HCESM) This segment connects to the Monk and Maryland creek FSRs and continues east as the Boundary creek FSR. This road is a moderate use timber haul road and also supports transmission line maintenance. Just over 3 kilometers down from the junction a 200m spur south leads to the Boundary Lake Forest Service recreation site. This site provides cartop boat launch, camping, toilets, wharves, firerings, and picnic tables.
  30. 30. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 30 Ministry of Forests recreation guide indicates that this site This small lake is suited to non-motorized boating. receives heavy use during summer. The Boundary Creek road closely follows the Boundary This lush valley provides many wildlife viewing creek channel. opportunities. SLDC 25 (4.3km, HCESM) This segment would use a newly constructed road built by J.H. Huscroft Ltd. for timber harvesting. This newly constructed road is built to high standards and makes At the road terminus, a trail would need to be constructed to an attractive route. connect to an upper spur. SLDC 30 (2.1km, HCES) This trail segment would need to be constructed on moderate to steep terrain along a small creek. It would be most efficient to work down from the upper road which is accessed from Creston. A few switchbacks will be
  31. 31. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 31 required to keep the grade to about 10%. With a wider clearing and larger radius switchbacks, this segment could be made snowmobile accessible. Snowmobiles have an alternate route option on the powerline road above. SLDC 35 (1.1km, HCESM) This segment would follow a newly constructed road through a recently harvested block, already planted. SLDC 40 (11.8km, HCESM) This segment would follow the Dodge creek Forest Service road as it descends at about 8-10% slope for over 10 km into the Creston Valley. Some vistas are found along the road where powerlines cross. The Dodge Creek road climbs steeply through rolling terrain. View of the Creston valley, Creston in midground, from the Dodge Creek FSR. SLDC 45 (2.8km, HCE) This segment would follow a deactivated Forest Service road. Frequent waterbars make it unpleasant for motorized travel but for hiking, cycling or horseback it would be workable. The road is no longer maintained so as roadside brush develops it would need to be cut periodically. This road has been deactivated with frequent waterbars. The road is still useable although some caution is required crossing waterbars. SLDC 50 (7.8km, HCE) This segment would follow Reclamation road north to the old ferry crossing near the junction of Reclamation road with West Creston road. This road is a level, rural, paved road with low traffic levels, but with narrow shoulders and large ditch. Visibility is excellent.
  32. 32. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 32 Reclamation road showing narrow shoulder. Junction of Reclamation road and West Creston Rd. SLDC 55 (0.1km, HCE) An unnamed road, of unknown status, (possibly a part of the dyke system) departs east from the junction of Reclamation road and West Creston road along the dyke to the river shoreline. A collection of behives is kept near the shore. Behives are maintained near the shoreline. A river water level guage is located at the waterfront at the old ferry crossing.. SLDC 60 (0.2 km, HC) This segment is a water crossing over a quiet reach of the Kootenay river. The crossing is approximately 100m across and could be done with canoe, rowboats, raft or some sort of cable ferry. A bridge could be considered but would have to comply with the Navigable Waters Act. If there is no way to keep a publicly available watercraft at this site, somehow fastened to cables such that it could be accessed from either side; a service provider could be arranged, so that travelers would call a number and a service would be dispatched for a fee, not unlike early 20th century ferry service. If a large enough craft was used, equestrian use could be added. Following are photos of some crossings used elsewhere. Whatever method of crossing is considered it would likely provide a novelty factor to the approach to Creston. Examples of water crossings are shown below.16 16 All photos of crossings are from Internet search.
  33. 33. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 33 Wooden pedestrian bridges are attractive but not likely feasible for Bridge clearance would need to comply with Navigable Water Act. this span without center piers.. Example of hand powered cable ferry across river in Belize, A cable wound around a drum is turned by this crank Central America. Primitive cable ferry in Mexico. Historic cable ferry on the Kettle River Coin operated cable ferry in Norway. Motorized cable ferry in Walnut Grove California.
  34. 34. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 34 SLDC 65 (5.5km, HCE) On the east side of the Kootenay river, this route would use an apparent public road called Kootenay river road that traverses Indian Reserve 1C. It is used as a walking, cycling horseback route by locals and passes through scenic agricultural lands. Contact was made with lower Kootenay band of the Ktunaxa Kinbasket Tribal Council to try to arrange a meeting but none was possible in time for this report. Route options should be discussed with the Lower Kootenay Band to minimize impacts on cultural heritage values and aboriginal rights, as well as to determine what role they would like to play in the trail project. On the north side of the river, Kootenay River Road Kootenay river road then turns east and is paved. View here meanders along the dyke and then turns north to the old is looking west. Goat river channel. . SLDC 70 (0.6km, HCE) This route would use a short segment of Highway 21 to travel north to connect with Valley View road which is common to, and described with, the Stagleap to Summit creek option (SLSC). This highway segment has fair, partly-paved shoulders and good visibility. View of Highway 21 looking north. 8.22 Lost Pass – Creston Sector via Corn Creek (LPCC) 84.7km total length into Creston For this assessment, this route is considered to commence at the Lost pass summit at 1930m elevation and descend via upper Summit creek, along and across Highway 3, up the Maryland creek Forest Service road, and down the Corn creek road to the Creston valley. In the Creston valley, it could follow north along west Creston road or cross the Kootenay river at the old ferry crossing site noted in the Stagleap –Dodge creek option, into Creston. This route has not been fully field assessed, and appears to be somewhat new to the possibilities considered in previous work.
  35. 35. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 35 The route is made up substantially of resource roads used for transmission lines and forestry. Based on contour mapping and using a 10% target grade, new connector trail of 1.6 km would be needed in Lost pass, and roughly 2.5 km to connect from the Maryland creek road network to the Corn creek road over an 1840m summit. This route is mostly remote, moderately active, and passes through steep terrain. An alternative to use the Dewdney Trail route over the Lost pass summit is described in NWLP45 and could continue here in North Summit creek. LPCC 05 (1.6km, H(C)E) From the powerline or gas line road terminus at the Lost pass summit, this segment would require new trail to the north Summit creek tributary powerline road to avoid having to go straight down the steep gas pipeline corridor. This trail layout will have to avoid some steep rock faces which can be seen from the summit in the valley headwaters. As this segment has not been fully field assessed or laid out, it is not certain whether it could be made suitable for cycling. The road approaches to the summit on either side are very steep and would necessitate walking. Heavy water barring and erosion on these steep road segments make cycling difficult. Trail would need to be laid out through this headwater area. Rock Coarse material would make trail construction challenging on the faces are visible at right and the powerline road terminates in ridge. cutblock on the left. LPCC 10 (4.3km, HCE) This segment could use existing powerline road in the north Summit creek tributary. The road is steep in the headwaters area and then becomes progressively more gentle as it approaches the highway chain-up area. A small stream ford and several waterbars will make travel challenging. The powerline crosses the summit on very steep rocky terrain. From the base of the steep section seen in this photo, the somewhat rough road meanders at a moderate grade to the Highway 3
  36. 36. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 36 chainup area. Powerline access road showing small ford. Gas pipeline right-of-way is steep and has little roadway, and a ford across north Summit creek.. Voluntary snowmobile closure due to caribou habitat. Winter use of Kootenay Summit area is at risk to avalanches and control activities. Gas line valve station. Frequent waterbars slow traffic on this Road near junction to Highway 3. road. LPCC 15 (9.9km, HC) This segment would follow Highway 3 from the chain-up area to the Maryland creek Forest Service road using the highway shoulder. LPCC 20 (2.6km, HCE) The main Maryland creek Forest Service road enters a steep, rugged valley and is situated on a steep sidehill. Being a logging road for J.H. Huscroft Ltd. to access the Maryland, Summit and Boundary creek drainages, it can have considerable logging traffic at times. The road is narrow and windy with limited visibility.
  37. 37. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 37 Constructing a trail parallel to the road would be difficult. The road provides a strategic crossing of Summit creek from Highway 3. The signs at the road entrance, although somewhat dilapidated, provide an indication of the risk to users. The bridge across Summit creek. Maryland creek FSR on right, Summit creek fork on left. LPCC 25 (4.1km, HCESM) Following a junction with a road paralleling Summit creek, this segment continues south along Maryland creek to the junction with the Monk creek Forest Service road. It winds through steep, scenic terrain but has limited passing room. LPCC 30 (8.8km, HEM) This segment follows the Maryland creek forest service road into its headwaters and over an 1840m pass into the Corn creek headwaters. Cycling and skiing are not indicated because this section has not been field checked. Based on contour mapping and the road class indicated, it may very well be suitable for all modes of travel. LPCC 35 (2.5km, HCE) This new trail segment would be required to connect the Maryland creek road to the Corn creek road. The route shown is based on map location only, using a 10% grade as a target. LPCC 40 (23.7km, HCESM) This segment would follow the Corn creek road which is under permit to J. H. Huscroft Ltd. This road descends down a long, steep, narrow, rugged valley to the shoulder of the Creston valley. Field reconnaissance was limited by the presence of a slough part way up the road.
  38. 38. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 38 Corn creek headwaters area where trail would connect. Slough part way up Corn creek road. Corn creek road, here being used by cow moose. Granary road passes through a pastoral setting. Signs indicate active logging road. Corn creek bridge on West Creston road does not provide pedestrian capacity. LPCC 45 (10.2km, HCE) This segment follows the shoulder of a system of public roads to the Granary road junction with Reclamation road and West Creston road, then north along West Creston road to the junction with Highway 3. These roads pass through a scenic rural setting with interesting views. Shoulder width is limited but traffic is very light on Granary road, and moderate on west Creston road. From here this option shares segments SLSC 60-65 into the town of Creston.
  39. 39. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 39 8.23 Stagleap – Creston Sector via Summit Creek (SLSC) Total length 64.4km For this assessment, this sector commences at the Kootenay pass summit along Highway 3 to the chainup area where it shares the segments from the Lost pass to Corn creek option to the Maryland creek road fork into Summit creek (LPCC 15 and 20). Commencing at the junction it parallels Summit creek on the south side using midslope forestry roads currently under construction, connected by new trail that would have to be constructed across steep ground. It rejoins Highway 3 at the Summit creek bridge crossing at the Creston valley, following it to Highway 21, Valley view road, and the C.P. Rail right-of-way into the center of Creston. SLSC 05 (3.9km, HCESM) This segment would use existing logging road to cross Boulais creek and reach the midslope of the south side of the Summit creek valley. A mine addit along the roadside. Gas line restoration work motor vehicle prohibition. SLSC 10 (5.1km, HCESM) This segment would follow a now partially constructed road planned by J.H. Huscroft. It can be anticipated that this road will offer several vistas overlooking the Summit Creek valley. This road along summit creek is currently under Looking ahead at the slope the road will cross. construction. SLSC 15 (5.3km, HCE) This segment would require new connector trail to be constructed across a steep slope. The road from the west to this location is currently under construction and the road from the east is just beginning to be constructed near the new Summit creek bridge.
  40. 40. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 40 SLSC 20 (16.0km, HCESM) This segment would use a road currently planned by J.H. Huscroft. This road would be located on the lower to mid slope of the south side of the Summit creek valley. Expected cutblocks will provide scenic vistas. This road will provide a new bridge crossing over Summit creek just west of the Highway 3 Summit creek bridge. The road should be available in about 2 years, with the bridge crossing planned to be constructed in Aug. 2005, and the majority of the road in 2006.17 Work underway on new Summit creek crossing. Rock being sorted for new Summit creek bridge. SLSC 25 (0.1km, HCE) This planned short spur road would partly serve as a connector to the East Kootenay Environmental Society trail near the Summit creek bridge. SLSC 30 (0.9km, HCE) and Alternate SLSCE 30 and 35 This segment could incorporate the existing East Kootenay Environmental Society trail which may require some realignment to match up to the spur road noted above. This is a registered segment of Trans Canada Trail. The trail would need to be upgraded if it was intended to suit bicycles and horses as well. For the purpose of this assessment, it has been assumed that it would be upgraded to accommodate mountain bikes. A portion of the existing balancing rock trail showing steep climb, The summit of balancing rock trail is a lush swamp with enormous narrow corridor. ferns and a boardwalk. Alternatively, a reasonable grade and alignment appears to be feasible by taking the SLSC 25 spur road, and connecting to the highest part of the Balancing Rock trail above the Creston Valley Wildlife Center. This upper portion of the trail traverses along the edge of a lush swamp with large ferns and skunk cabbage, locally called Fern Gulley. Interpretive stations have been established along the trail, which is used for interpretive tours by 17 Mike Pascuzzo, Woodlands Manager, J.H. Huscroft Ltd., Pers. Comm.
  41. 41. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 41 the wildlife center. From there, a route could be connected to a gated service road used to access powerlines and a waterline, or a new trail could be constructed, to link to Wildlife road. The service road does not appear to be mapped, probably because it is on private land owned by Creston Valley Wildlife Center. It runs from 15-25% grade and has a rutted grown-in surface. A trail route could be developed as generally shown on the map, and could possibly incorporate some vistas of the Creston Valley. Approval to connect a route through this land would have to be obtained from the board of the Creston Valley Wildlife Center, East Kootenay Environmental Society and the local water user group who have their intake structure near the base of the service road..18 Balancing rock. View of Creston valley from upper balancing rock trail. Servie road at Wildlife road. This grade is 25%. Road is grown over and rutted. SLSC 35 (3.9km, HCE) This segment on the Kootenay river floodplain incorporates trail completed by the Creston Valley Wildlife Center through the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, and is currently registered Trans Canada Trail. It has very gentle grades and a variety of wetland and other features, and was designed to minimize impact on waterfowl and wildlife.19 It is not however a direct alignment in its current configuration. 18 Gillian Cooper, Creston Valley Wildlife Center, Pers. Comm. 19 Gillian Cooper, Creston Valley Wildlife Center, Pers. Comm.
  42. 42. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 42 Trail passing under old Kootenay channel bridge. Trail would link to existing well-maintained interpretive facilities. Trail near highway is shielded by trees. Current signage indicates registered trail. Some portions would benefit from improved signage and trail Trail would pass along the edge of former campground. surfacing. SLSC 40 (4.0km, HC) This segment would use Highway 3 to cross the Creston valley to Kootenay river bridge. Highway 3 has wide, paved shoulders. This segment includes a bridge across old Kootenay channel. This bridge is not suitable for pedestrian use in its current state. However local trail planners have proposed to create a pedestrian crossing alongside the bridge or using large culverts to span the narrow channel present there. In the longer term a trail could be developed off the highway, but options are limited by deep drainage ditches and surrounding private land.
  43. 43. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 43 Highway 3 looking west towards Summit creek shows wide Old Kootenay channel bridge. In midground is site where a shoulders and good visibility. pedestrian crossing could be constructed. SLSC 45 (0.2km, HC) This is the 215m long Kootenay river bridge; the only current crossing of the Kootenay river between the U.S. border and Kootenay lake. All cycling traffic currently has to use this bridge. However, this bridge has limited pedestrian/cycling capacity in its current configuration. In 2001, the B.C. government Land Use Coordination Office and Ministry of Transportation and Highways sponsored an assessment of this bridge to determine the cost of retrofitting a pedestrian walkway to be hung onto the south side of the existing bridge structure. This was estimated to cost roughly $430,000; prohibitive for a non-profit group to take on20. At that time, Ministry of Transportation was intending to proceed with a design, and Trails B.C. was to do a design of the trail approaches between the bridge structures along Highway 3. Looking at the bridge’s current configuration, there is a roughly 40cm ledge/curb on each side next to the guardrail, and another roughly 60cm shoulder outside the white line on each side. The total bridge deck is 8.4m of which 7.2m is needed for the two traffic lanes. Engineering standards to accommodate a sidewalk require a 1.5m pedestrian corridor and a concrete parapet to separate pedestrians from traffic. This bridge would not have the capacity to provide this full width. Ministry of Transportation staff recommend that signage be installed as an interim solution, and that a plan be developed to integrate sidewalk installation with bridge painting due to occur shortly after 2007. Signage should suggest dismounting from bicycle. The Ministry of Transportation senior transportation planning engineer feels that reallocation of deck space is not an option as the free space outside the laneway white lines is required for large trucks passing each other and for snow removal.21 A study done by the Province determined that it would cost Travelers currently use the two shoulder areas to cross the bridge. $430,000 to add a pedestrian walkway alongside the bridge. Signage is recommended as an interim measure for user safety. 20 Ministry of Transportation and Highways, Sept. 2000, Bridge Engineering Site Meeting Minutes, File: TCT 21 Arn von Maydell, Area Manager, Bridges, and Grant Irvine, Senior Transportation Planning Engineer, Pers. Comm.
  44. 44. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 44 SLSC 50 (2.6km, HC) This segment would follow along Highway 3 on the shoulder similar to SLSC 40. SLSC 55 (1.7km, HCE) This segment would use Highway 21 to avoid a railway underpass along Highway 3, and to favour a lower traffic and lower speed highway leading towards Creston town center. Equestrian use on this segment should be discussed with Ministry of Transportation. Highway 21 offers good shoulders and visibility. Highway 3 railway underpass. SLSC 60 (1.0km, HCE) This segment would follow Valley View road to the upper terrace of the town of Creston. Shoulders are limited width, but the town of Creston is discussing dedication of trail right-of –way with a developer who recently acquired the property on the south side.22 Valley View road looking northwest. SLSC 65 (1.8km, HCE) This segment would follow the Canadian Pacific Railway right-of-way into the center of Creston. The Town of Creston is currently negotiating an agreement with C.P. Rail to allow them to establish a trail along the right-of- way (which extends 15 to 30 m on either side of the railway). The town plans to make this a key part of the town trail system.23 It incorporates scenic vistas, heritage grain elevators, easy access to amenities, and Creston’s beautiful new Millennium Park. 22 Lawrence Lavender, Town Councillor, Pers. Comm. 23 Lawrence Lavender, Town Councillor, Pers. Comm.
  45. 45. Trans Canada Trail Nelway to Yahk Route Assessment Report Page 45 C.P. Rail right-of-way has good grade and views. C.P. Rail right-of-way looking south Millennium Park Bicycles are not permitted inside the park. Murals in downtown Creston. Historic grain elevators. 8.3 Creston to Yahk In addition to the highway route which is frequently used by cyclists, but has several non-pedestrian capable bridges, possibilities include: • The C.P. Rail railway grade. This track has limited rail traffic and is possibly to be abandoned in future providing a rails-to-trails option. However it is being used daily and surrender is uncertain. A trail alongside the railway on the existing right-of-way was also considered but would have to deal with wetlands, rock bluffs and other significant obstacles. This option is not further addressed in this assessment, but would be an excellent trail route if it became available with grades generally under 2% and a length of 42.6km.