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From the Press Release:

"Bear Creek offers one of the best off-road riding areas in British Columbia," said Thorpe.."This
funding is critical in maintaining these exceptional grounds in a responsible way while
encouraging community members and visitors to take advantage of this wonderful recreation
area."

Rick Thorpe,
MLA
Okanagan-Westside


 
 

 


There are a lot of trail riders in the Okanagan Valley who have been members of the KMRA (Kelowna Motorcycle Riders Association), the KDBC (Kelowna Dirt Bike Club), and now the OTRA. Like, me, Mr. Webmaster, we have seen a steady increase in participation and commitment among a core volunteer group who are more dedicated than ever to see riding in the valley continue. There are occasional setbacks, where everything does not always go according to plan, but on the whole, this group is moving forward.

On Friday June 22, 2007, the group achieved what would have been considered unthinkable a few years ago: after successfully negotiating with the various parties and stakeholders in the Bear Creek area, the OTRA has been awarded $275,000 for the improvement of the riding area. No, that ain't a misprint.

Official BC Government Press Release

"The funding will be used to plan, construct and maintain a sustainable network of trails in the Bear Creek Motorized Recreation Resource Management Zone. The funds will also allow further collaboration on rehabilitation of impacted areas and the construction of a sustainable trail network to disperse riders away from sensitive areas, including wetlands and residences." - from the Press Release.

Incredible. Here is the news from the Okanagan Daily Courier, June 23, 2007:

From CASTANET.net

Cash For Trail Riders

by Marshall Jones - Story: 31118
June 23, 2007 / 12:13 pm

A popular off-road trail system on the Westside is getting a big cash injection to ensure its future sustainability and to protect the area’s watershed.

Okanagan-Westside MLA Rick Thorpe announced that the Okanagan Trail Riders Association will be entrusted with $275,000 from the provincial government to plan and build a managed trail system in the Bear Creek area.

The site is one of few remaining designated motorized off-road trail systems in the province but has been threatened in past because of conflicts between the Lakeview Irrigation District and rogue riders damaging the watershed and sensitive areas.

Ken Umbarger, president of the trail riders, says the cash will be used to plan and build a managed 400 km trail system with a focus on keeping riders on trails. They expect to purchase equipment and get to work in the bush next year.

“We need to make sure the resources are protected,” he says. “This is also going to enhance the riding experience.”

The group is also pursuing a stewardship agreement with the ministry of tourism, sport and the arts so it can hold some authority over riders to ensure they follow set rules. He says it’s all part of a plan to prove they are responsible stewards of the area.

Thorpe has been a big supporter of their efforts and helped mediate disagreements between the groups and the irrigation district which was concerned about degraded water quality resulting from irresponsible trail riding.

"Bear Creek offers one of the best off-road riding areas in British
Columbia," said Thorpe. "This funding is critical in maintaining these exceptional grounds in a responsible way while encouraging community members and visitors to take advantage of this wonderful recreation area."

The Central Okanagan Regional District is also on board with the plan to balance all needs in the area, says chairman Robert Hobson.
 

 

 
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