Kettle Valley Rail Trail Development
Draft Concept Plan
Chute Lake to Naramata
1. Strategic Context
- The opportunity
- Strategic Direction
2. Development Plan
- Trail Use Designation
- Motorized Opportunity Development
- Trail Development
- Staging Areas
- Kettle Valley Rail Trail Development
1. Concept map showing Rail Trail Network from Chute Lake to Naramata
2. Map showing shared / motorized use only
3. KVR only – showing different use designations on rail trail
1. Strategic Context
The Province owns over 2000 km of former rail corridors. Close to half of these
corridors are being used for recreation, with approximately 600 km established as
recreation trails by legislation and actively managed by the Ministry of Forests, Lands
and Natural Resource Operations. These trails are also designated as the Trans Canada
Trail and make up approximately 40% of the Trans Canada Trail across British Columbia.
Rail Trails represent an extraordinary recreation opportunity. Their length, scenery,
historic value and proximity to communities combined with a wide surface and low
grade, make them appealing to recreationists of all ages ‐ particularly cyclists. Although
a relatively new concept and as yet undeveloped in B.C., rail trails are well established
throughout the US. Neighbouring states to B.C. ‐ Washington and Idaho alone ‐ offer
thousands of kilometres of converted, high quality rail trails.
Besides providing opportunities for local communities to enjoy healthy nature based
recreation, rail trails have the potential to contribute significantly to local economies.
The Route of the Hiawatha Rail Trail in neighbouring Idaho is 24 km long and winds
through remote, mountain and valley terrain. The fee based trail attracted 37,502 users
paying $8 per day during the 2011 season. The trail supports a thriving bike rental and
shuttle service run by a concessionaire company as well as numerous ancillary
accommodation and service providers. Over 99% of trail users in 2012 were cyclists.
The Kettle Valley Rail Trail offers a rare opportunity for a low grade, long distance high
quality cycling trail unprecedented elsewhere in the Province. The greater “rail trail
network” offers opportunities for a greater diversity of recreation and this concept is
central to the Kettle Valley Rail Trail Development Concept Plan ‐ Chute Lake to
Since the purchase of the former rail corridors for conversion to recreation trails over 15
years ago by the Province, rail trails have not realized their potential. Following the
purchase of the corridors, the Province invested significantly in infrastructure to
complete the trail including re‐building bridges and trestles. However, for over a
decade, little progress was made on use management and developing a suitable trail
governance model. As a result, conflict between non‐motorized and motorized users of
the rail trail currently defines the initiative and presents a barrier to development of the
network. Recreation groups, communities and the Province as a whole are not realizing
the significant potential economic, health or social benefits of the trails.
Conflict amongst non‐motorized and motorized users of the rail trails has led to ongoing
conflict over much of the network. The trail use conflict is particularly apparent
closer to communities and developed areas. The conflict for the most part originates
from concerns about a quality tread surface, conflict with adjacent land owners and
social value conflict amongst types of users. A comprehensive management approach is
required to address these issues and to allow responsible development of the rail trail
Touring and recreational cyclists, seek a highly compact, hardened and smooth trail
surface. Travelling long distances, often carrying gear, touring cyclists will seek
alternative paved routes or are dissuaded from undertaking the trip if the tread surface
is not suitable. Prolonged use of the trail by motorized vehicles has been shown to
directly impact the trail tread. Prevalent motorized use discourages investment in a
high quality tread surface to achieve a desirable surface for cycling.
BC’s rail trails travel through communities, developed areas, agricultural areas and
wilderness. In more developed and agriculture areas, motorized use conflict with
landowners is common. Issues related to dust, time of use, noise and impacts to
agricultural operations, have resulted in a decline in support for the trail by some land
owners. The viability of the trail depends on support from neighbouring land owners
and the on‐going conflict continues to hamper development of the trail for all users.
Finally, a primary motivation for non‐motorized recreation trail users is to seek peaceful
solitude in a natural setting. Non‐motorized recreation trail users have reported that
presence of motorized vehicles and associated dust, noise and in many cases risk of
collision interfere directly with these goals.
As a result, extensive use by pedestrians, hikers and cyclists of remote rail trails has
become limited and tends to be highly concentrated within communities along the
trails. Despite over $50 million dollars in provincial, federal, local and non‐profit
investment in the trails since 1990, the primary use of the trail is currently by local
motorized users. All indications are that as motorized use increases, non‐motorized use
Growth in use of OHV’s in British Columbia has been considerable over the past two
decades. All‐Terrain Vehicles (ATV’s), dirtbikes, Utility Terrain Vehicles (side by sides)
are being used for recreation, primarily along resource roads throughout the Province.
The historic development of rail lines, linking communities and routed along main valley
bottom corridors make them ideal linkages for broader OHV recreation opportunities
‘upslope’ of the rail corridors themselves. Where resource roads often terminate in
high country, rail corridors provide continuity between valleys and favourite riding
areas. As well, OHV enthusiasts are increasingly expressing a desire for long distance
touring routes connecting communities. For these reasons, the former rail corridors are
sought after by motorized recreationists.
With both non‐motorized and motorized groups vying for use of the valuable corridors
and recognition of the differing needs of each group, successful development of the rail
trail concept in BC will depend on both groups working with the Province and local
governments to develop a consensus based approach that meets the needs of both
groups by considering solutions beyond the rail grade itself.
The Province is committed to working with all trail user groups to develop high quality,
legitimate recreation trail opportunities on Crown land. Opportunities exist to create
quality motorized riding areas as well as long distance OHV trails across the Province
(based on an assumption that public road crossings for summer OHV’s will be
implemented in the future). Similarly, the Province wishes to continue to support the
efforts of the non‐motorized community, Trans Canada Trail, Trails BC and many
communities across the southern interior seeking a high quality non‐motorized cycling
trail across southern BC taking advantage of the minimal trail grades on the extensive
and contiguous rail trail network.
Resolution of the long standing conflict between motorized and non‐motorized users on
B.C.’s rail trails depends on collaborative, community based consensus on use of the
trail. Success of the trail as a whole depends first and foremost on support from the
communities the trail passes through, local and regional government support, provincial
support and finally overarching advocacy from provincial and national organizations.
In the winter of 2011, the Province convened a provincial level Rail Trail Conflict
Resolution Steering Committee to guide resolution of the long standing issue. Members
of the Committee included representatives from the Provincial Ministry of Forests,
Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO), Trails BC (TBC), Quad Riders
Association of BC (ATV‐BC) and the BC Off‐Road Motorcycle Association (BCORMA). The
role of the Steering Committee was to develop, through consensus, a community based
resolution processes for the trail, select a pilot community to undertake the process and
provide guidance to a local working group through the implementation of a pilot
The Provincial Steering Committee identified commonly held objectives of their
respective user groups. Further, the Committee agreed upon a practical approach to
resolving the trail use issue in localized areas. A hierarchy of options to be considered
for local areas of the trail where use conflict is prevalent includes:
1. In partnership with motorized riders, identify and develop high quality
alternative motorized routes that:
a. meet the needs of motorized users
b. provides connections to key points of interest
c. includes adequate facilities to encourage motorized use
2. Where alternative routes are not available, seek opportunities to share the
right of way over limited distances by:
a. If not cost prohibitive, twinning the trail within the corridor for both
motorized and non‐motorized users
b. Separating the grade with use of barriers to minimize impacts to
tread surface by motorized vehicles
3. Where grade separation is not cost effective or feasible, designate shared
sections of the trail based on rules and signage.
In March of 2012, the Steering Committee selected the portion of the Kettle Valley Rail
Trail from the community of Naramata to the southwest boundary of Myra Canyon
Provincial Park (59 km) as the pilot area. A local working group made up of motorized
and non‐motorized users, local government representatives and provincial
representatives was convened. Through a process of meetings and field trips, the
Naramata Working Group arrived, through consensus, at a set of recommendations for
the portion of the KVR from Naramata to Chute Lake (phase 1) to achieve the goals of
both the motorized and non‐motorized trail users.
2. Development Plan
The Province, in cooperation with local and provincial trail user groups, local
governments, and stakeholders and with the support of First Nations, propose to
develop the KVR Rail Trail between the community of Naramata and Chute Lake for
primarily non‐motorized use. At the same time, this plan proposes to develop specific
alternative OHV routes, OHV staging areas and connect OHV users with key areas and
attractions traditionally accessed by the KVR. The overarching intention is to provide
high quality opportunities that meet the needs and reflect the values of both motorized
and non‐motorized users.
Trail Use Designation
To support this concept plan and based on agreed upon travel routes by the Naramata
Working Group, all portions of the KVR Trail between the Penticton City Boundary south
of the community of Naramata and Chute Lake Resort will be classified and designated
to identify appropriate and allowable uses. The trail portions will reflect summer nonmotorized
use, shared use or shared use with restrictions. Refer to Map 1 for an
overview of proposed trail designations
This plan does not address issues related to winter motorized use. All references to nonmotorized
use in this plan are intended to refer to summer non‐motorized use.
1. Penticton City Boundary to Arawana Road – Non‐motorized with limited motorized
(highway vehicle) access for tenure holders
This portion of the trail is directly contiguous to the non‐motorized section of the trail
within the Penticton municipal boundary. The Trail provides some access to range
lands for an active and tenured range license holder. As well, the trail has provided
some secondary lot access for residents adjacent to the trail. This portion of the trail
would be designated as non‐motorized. The Province will discuss options for limited
vehicle access for tenured land users and property owners based on conditions. The
intent would not be to provide recreational OHV access to the Trail for adjacent land
2. Arawana Road to Little Tunnel– Non‐motorized
The KVR between Arawana and Smethurst road is a highly popular and well used
walking and cycling route within a developed area. Motorized use of this portion of the
trail is not compatible with local trail use patterns for both safety and social reasons. In
addition, the section of trail from Smethurst Road to Little Tunnel provides access to the
“little tunnel”. Maintaining a non‐motorized designation allows connectivity of a long,
non‐motorized corridor from the City of Penticton to a high quality destination feature,
currently well used by pedestrians, dog‐walkers and cyclists.
A trail head staging area for motorized use is proposed adjacent to Smethurst Rd,
approximately 2.5km above the Smethurst‐KVR trail head. This staging area will provide
access to the Adra Tunnel and alternative OHV trails.
3. Little Tunnel to Glenfir – Shared Use
The section of trail from Little Tunnel to Glenfir will be designated as shared use with
motorized access from Glenfir. This shared use designation ensures motorized users
maintain access to highly valued destination feature ‐Little Tunnel.
4. Glenfir to Adra Tunnel (second track) – Non‐motorized
The adjacent Hydro line, once enhanced, provides a quality motorized alternative to
the ‘2nd’, and when linked by existing access roads to the ‘3rd track’ provides access to
Adra Station and beyond to the proposed Smethurst OHV staging area. The portion of
the KVR from Glenfir to Adra Tunnel will be designated as non‐motorized.
5. Adra Tunnel to Adra Station – Non‐motorized
The motorized alternative access to Adra tunnel that connects with the KVR at Adra
Station via a staging area on Smethurst Road (Naramata Creek FSR) allows continuation
of a non‐motorized designation of the KVR to Adra Station without limiting access to the
Adra Tunnel for OHV enthusiasts.
6. Adra Station to Elinor FSR – Shared Use
The alternative motorized access from the proposed staging area, joins the KVR at Adra
Station. The KVR is proposed for shared use between Adra Station and the KVR junction
with the Elinor Forest Service Road. The Elinor Forest Service Road, with modest
improvements, presents a quality motorized alternative accessing Chute Lake and
provides an OHV a “circle route” via connections to the Hydro line in the vicinity of
7. Elinor FSR to Chute Lake – Non‐motorized
The KVR between the Elinor FSR Junction on the 3rd track and Chute Lake Lodge will be
designated as non‐motorized, based on the availability of a quality alternative for
motorized users to access Chute Lake via Elinor FSR.
True shared use is generally difficult to achieve as motorized and non‐motorized trail
use conflict is asymmetrical – the effects of one user’s activities on the other is not
equal in the reverse. This asymmetrical conflict is well known and has been addressed
by the Naramata Working Group through the development of a trail user’s etiquette
specific to shared use sections. This etiquette includes respectful behaviour by all trail
users, speed restrictions, divided sections of trail, barriers, signage and surface
Motorized Opportunity Development
The working group has identified a number of objectives for motorized recreation use of
this plan area. Specifically, access to riding opportunities beyond the KVR and the ability
to ride big loops, high quality trails, and access to destination features (identified by the
working group as Little Tunnel, Adra Tunnel, Rock Ovens Regional Park, views of
Okanagan Lake, access to Chute Lake and a view point known as “Eagle Perch Rock”).
Additionally, motorized enthusiasts have indicated that maintaining access to the
considerable resource road riding opportunities upland of the KVR remains a primary
A plan for development of trails and infrastructure to ensure motorized users can
achieve these objectives is being proposed. A map of the motorized riding opportunities
associated with the working group is attached under “map 2”. While the working group
has developed the concept of this loop centred around the rail trail network and the
associated destination features, it should be noted that there are significant, other
motorized opportunities in the area that this plan intends to enhance and connect with.
Some sections of trail noted above require various improvements to meet the working
group criteria for quality motorized trails.
1. Motorized trail enhancements from Adra Tunnel to Adra Station
a. Improvements to water management
c. Walking trails from parking areas to Adra tunnel (each end). This
includes the creation of parking areas and walking trails from
motorized alternative trails to Adra Tunnel entrances
2. Shared use improvements Adra Station to Elinor FSR
a. Explore potential for separated grade
b. Signage to manage use and user expectations
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c. Surfacing improvements
d. Intersection signage and engineering at the intersection of the KVR
and Elinor FSR
3. Elinor FSR from 3rd track to Chute Lake
b. Water management
c. Road surface improvements over steep and rocky portions
4. Elinor Forest Service Road from 3rd track to Hydro line (via “flume trail”)
b. Water management
c. Secure access agreement with private land owner along hydro line
5. Hydro line trail improvements
c. Bridge at creek crossing on utility corridor at approximately
49°41’13.19”N and 119°33’35.40”W
d. Surfacing improvements and re‐routing steep portions
Staging and parking areas ensure users, particularly OHV users, have adequate facilities
to support their recreation opportunities. For motorized users this usually entails day
use parking area with adequate space for vehicles and associated trailers. Outhouse
facilities and day use picnic facilities enhance the staging area.
1. Smethhurst FSR Staging Area
A day use staging area for motorized users is proposed on Smethurst Road
(Naramata Creek FSR). The proposed area is approximately 2.5 kilometres along
the FSR above the KVR junction. The area is flat ground, previously disturbed
and partially roaded and therefore well suited to development of a staging area.
Construction of this staging area will involve some earth works and installation
of sign kiosks and trail markers.
The Smethurst staging area will provide an OHV linkage near to the Adra Tunnel
(and permit easy pedestrian access to both entrances) and a direct trail linkage
to Adra Station and the shared use portion of the KVR linking to Chute Lake via
the Elinor FSR.
2. Northeast Glenfir Staging Area
A day use staging area is proposed adjacent to the Chute Lake Road, below the
junction Hydro line crossing. This staging area will provide direct OHV access to
the Hydro line trail and OHV route to Chute Lake.
OHV signage for route identification and way finding is a critical component to the
development of the OHV trail opportunities. Adequate and reliable signage will ensure
that OHV riders are able to clearly follow designated and intended routes, have clear
understanding of where OHV use is permitted and are able to recreate safely
throughout the area.
Development of the OHV Trail network will include a comprehensive, educational, way
finding and reassurance signage program.
Kettle Valley Rail Trail Development
Development of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail as a world class recreation trail requires a
significant investment in a high quality tread surface. Clarity around trail use will enable
the Province and partners to invest in this portion of the rail trail specifically, the tread
Recent surfacing work completed across BC and along rail trails in other jurisdictions has
indicated that surfacing with aggregate materials does not stand up to repeated OHV
use. Therefore, the initiative to enhance the KVR Trail with a high quality, very compact
aggregate surface will focus on areas of non‐motorized use.
The Province, in partnership with the Regional District Okanagan‐Similkameen will
undertake a trail surfacing project. Surfacing will be initiated at Arawana Road where
recent works were completed and be completed along the trail towards Chute Lake as
resources permit. Resurfacing works from Arawana Road to Little Tunnel will be the
first priority followed by resurfacing of the ‘2nd track’.
In addition to resurfacing, funding will be made available for infrastructure
requirements as they are identified including trailhead enhancements, outhouse
facilities, signage, benches, interpretive signage etc.
Signage was noted as a key trail development tool by both the Steering Committee and
the Working Group. Signage fulfils a number of important roles:
1. Way finding and directional signage.
Way finding signage is critical to ensuring quality recreation experiences. Where
routes are being proposed that deviate from the rail corridor, signage will be used
to ensure unfamiliar users to the area can travel with confidence and reach
destinations while fulfilling their recreation objectives. Ensuring users follow
designated routes also serves to ensure conflicts with other users and stakeholders
on the land base are minimized.
2. Use management
Signage can be used to communicate etiquette, rules and expectations to trail
users. This can include trail etiquette for users including speed limits, interaction
protocol, guidelines for respecting other stakeholders (range users) etc. The
working group has identified trail use etiquette as an important tool in this plan
and signage will play a critical role in establishing and maintaining that etiquette.
3. Managing user expectations
Signage can be used to ensure various user groups understand and know what to
expect. Signage will be used to identify areas of shared or single use along the rail
A comprehensive signage program will be developed to meet the 3 primary objectives
noted above. Trail signage will also be located at trail junctions, where trail use
changes, at kiosks and trail heads. Signage at trail heads will be used to communicate
overall area use objectives to all users.
Interpretive signage at key features and areas of interest will also be developed.
Education is a key component of community based trail management. Education
through signage, local and regional media and community dialogue will users clearly
understand trail use expectation and regulations and ensure that all users are able to
achieve their recreation goals. An effective education program is particularly important
in the early stages to reduce the need for more formal and costly enforcement
Implementation of the trail and infrastructure improvements will be accompanied by a
comprehensive education and communication plan supported by the Province, RDOS
and stewardship groups.
Enforcement is a key component of ensuring land use is implemented according to a
consensus based planning process. It is anticipated that enforcement will be required
early in the process to achieve changes in use patterns. Compliance and Enforcement
officers in MFLNRO, the District Recreation Officer, Conservation Officers and local
RCMP may be involved in aspects of a comprehensive enforcement program. As use
patterns become more established over time, it is anticipated that the need for
enforcement will decrease.
Implementation of the KVR Development Plan between Naramata and Chute Lake will
occur based on available resources of all partners, most notably the Province and the
Regional District Okanagan‐ Similkameen. The Province and the RDOS anticipate a two
year process to achieve the majority of objectives identified in this plan. As funding
levels for both levels of government vary, implementation may be accelerated or may
require additional time.
The Province, the RDOS and the Working Group anticipate initiating some field based
projects in the fall of 2012. This could include development of the Smethurst staging
area as well as trail surfacing work between Arawana Road and Little Tunnel. It is
anticipated that the majority of trail improvements, surfacing work, OHV trail
enhancements and signage would be put in place during the 2013 field season.
Implementation of regulatory designations for trail use, established under section 20 of
the Forest Recreation Regulation would coincide with development of alternative OHV
opportunities and would be targeted for the 2013 summer motorized riding season.