Gold Rush Trail gains federal, industry funding

MP Cathy McLeod announces $80,000 in matching grant

  • Apr. 16, 2015 7:00 p.m.
The Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail gets regular use

The Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail gets regular use

The 100 Mile Snowmobile Club (OMSC) has successfully secured $80,000 for furthering some significant improvements to the Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail (GRST).

This brings the current budget to $160,000, which GRST project manager Steve Law says makes it one of the largest federally funded trails projects in British Columbia.

“We’ve already done some of the work; we put up some new signage, opened it up and cleared it again [trees and brush]; and there is a major bridge we want to put in over the Moffat Creek [south of Horsefly].”

More signs, clearing and some smaller bridges will also be included, he adds.

The most recent influx of $80,000 was announced by Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod on March 21.

Law says the OMSC applied for the National Recreational Trails Program matching grant after it successfully raised $80,000 in other grants from the Rec Sites and Trails BC ($50,000) and Northern Development Initiative Trust ($30,000).

“It’s still labelled a snowmobile trail … but the intent is to make it a multi-use trail.”

Mountain bikes, horses and hikers can use the trail now, but only portions are currently available to ATVs, due to issues like B.C. regulations on road crossings.

McLeod says the federal money is part of the recently announced $10 million (2014-2016) available through a government partnership with the National Trails Coalition for maintaining and improving snowmobile, ATV and non-motorized trail systems.

“The [GRST] is a unique trail in B.C. as it is one of the few trails that connects communities and involves four separate snowmobile clubs working together.”

Noting the long-term trail plan will connect at least nine Cariboo towns and cities, she says by investing in trail infrastructure, the federal government is both encouraging job creation and increasing recreational opportunities.

While the legally defined trail runs from 70 Mile House to Horsefly, Law explains work is also underway towards eventually running the trail from Clinton to Wells – some 460 kilometres.

“The intent always was to connect communities together; it is more so the hope that it will attract groups into our communities. [For example] if you have a group of 20 people descend on Horsefly, they are going to drop thousands of dollars.”

Joanne Doddridge sits on the GRST regional management committee in economic development activities, as part of her role as director of economic development and planning for the District of 100 Mile House.

“The planned improvements from this funding should draw more recreational tourism to the area – and we already have a pretty strong presence here. So, when these folks plan longer rides … often they will stay overnight, they will buy gas, they will eat in restaurants and pick up extra supplies for their trip.

“It could bring a huge benefit to our local businesses to have additional trail users.”