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The Okanagan Trail Riders are making things happen!



August 2006 Edition

Presidents Ramble

It’s time to let you all know what’s up and what’s gone down since my last ramble in the early spring. March and April were spent collaborating with Lakeview Irrigation District and the government on how to best utilize the $35,000 dollars granted by the government. A special thank you has to go to Steve Carr of the Integrated Land Management Bureau and to Rick Thorpe for their support. Our priorities for these funds came down to Riders Education and Awareness, Indestructible kiosks & outhouses at the 8 km staging area, and a Corridor Trail between the lower pits and upper pits including a bridge crossing at Bald Creek. Lakeview Irrigations priorities were to close off the road into bald range to recreational vehicles at the switchback (10 km), deal with the upper Bald Range Crossing and have the ditches re-graded on logging roads to collect sediment.

Ron Irnie did a stellar job of managing the Education and Awareness campaign in April!! Along with getting consensus on our signs from nearly every government department in the country Ron was instrumental in having a check point set up on Bear Main with Greg Hoyer ( Conservation Officer) and a representative from the Westbank RCMP in attendance. Frank Braeuer did some good work on creating an educational brochure which has proven to be a useful tool in education and recruitment! (We have enough brochures to last us at least a couple of years).

As part of the Awareness Day, Adrian V took charge of organizing a massive cleanup of the 8 km pits and had a great turnout of young and old volunteers for this project. The Kokanee Bush Riders had there specialty blender on site and along with the work it all turned out to be big fun.

Terry Burke has put his heart and sole into managing our membership and initiating tremendous growth in this area. We are now at the 300 member mark and continuing to add members with each event. Terry also took charge of getting the kiosks donated and constructed by Aqualu and organizing a work party of 12 volunteers (special thanks to Dave Pelltier for his help and use of the trailer) to install the kiosks. These will serve as a location for maps of a signed trail system of the area in the future as well as notice boards for upcoming events.

The Kokanee Bush Riders constructed an amazing bridge intended to be used for the upper bald range crossing. Dan Perry spent some 200 hours of volunteer time to construct this bridge and his employer donated all the material. It was a tremendous blow to OTR and I am sure the Kokanee Boys when the government required engineering specifications and modifications so costly that the use of this bridge by OTR for our trail network became unfeasible as determined by both OTR and the Kokanee Bush Riders. While this will go down as one of my deepest regrets the spirit shown by Dan and the Kokanee boys will never be forgotten. It has also been a lesson in the red tape and planning OTR will need to deal with in the worthwhile endeavor of securing the Bear Creek riding area now and for generations to come.

In May we rolled up our sleeves and put on a 30 km course for our annual Ogopogo Cross Country Event. The event was fantastic with perfect conditions. Along with all the volunteers who got the course ready, Lorne Scott and my wife Jane got everyone pleasantly plump with the burgers and smokeys. Frank Braeuer did a masterful job of pulling all the pieces together in the last week and marshalling on event day. The response from the 125 riders who attended from BC and as far south as Idaho was YAHOO!!! The club made some much needed funds and it served to pull everyone together. Discussions are ongoing with George Madarasz of ODR Racing on this event for next year and we are hopeful that a with Georges involvement we can come up with some win-win directions for this event in 2007.

In June we were involved in a workshop organized by Herb Blairmore of the Friends of the South Slopes. Herb did an outstanding job of pulling together numerous groups with an interest in finding an alternative riding area to replace the riding closures on the south side and to reduce the conflicts created by motorized recreation and residents. This will no doubt be an area that in the next couple years OTR will be highly involved in. Terry Burke and I both attended this workshop on behalf of OTR and were encouraged by Herbs common sense approach and leadership. (see the FOSS newsletter on their website).

July saw the first ever riding clinic organized by Adrian van Nieuwkerk with the help of his lovely wife and kick ass rider Christine. Jamie Skinner and Mark Cahill did a very professional job of teaching some off-road skills to both the beginners and advanced riders who took part in this clinic. Bob Ames did a great job of contacting numerous members and with Adrian’s strong leadership this first ever event was a fabulous success both in giving our members value and attracting lots of new OTR members. Coupled with this event was a camp out and Family Fun day with games organized by another dynamic member Steve Mill of Four Seasons Motorsports in Vernon. Steve did a great job of researching some fun games for young and old alike. My favorite was the slow race which was a natural for me. Christine van Nieuwkerk did an incredible job of hustling prizes from the community and everyone came away from the weekend feeling they got more than their moneys worth!! (See Adrian’s report for all the details)

In August we anticipate having the concrete work on the outhouses completed and to have the new permanent signage for the Alf Klassen Trail installed. At the time of writing this ramble the footings for the outhouses are underway! We are also hoping to have an action plan in place for the bridge crossing and corridor trail as well as a beginners loop in the lower pits so as to provide a safe place for the little tikes to learn on.

Terry Burke organized OTR’s first dual sport event in the Okanagan on August 27th and knowing Terry this was one you did not want to miss! This was a friendly route around the south Okanagan that was a blast!!!

Bruce Saaranin and Peter Barnes have also planned a three day dual sport ride from Winfield to Christina Lake from September 1 to 3rd with a camp over in Edgewood. This ride will be limited to 12 riders due to logistics and the terrain and will be an adventure to say the least!

Our next meeting is Tuesday September 5th at 6:00 PM. By popular demand we will be back at the Buffet King on highway 97. Looking forward to seeing you all there!

On Sunday October 1st we will be holding the Alf Klassen Poker Run. Last year we had a great turnout and this year we expect to showcase our tribute to Alf with a permanently signed course complete with small wheels and big wheels sections. The prizes will be flowing along with the fun!!!.

On October 19th to 22nd, Frank Braeuer is organizing a trip to Little Pend’Orielle outside of Colville Washington. For those of you who want to catch the vision for Bear Creek this trip is a must. Miles and miles of single track sustainable trails to die for!! Read Franks update on this trip for an elaboration that only he can do justice to.

Thanks for reading this ramble and I am stoked to see you all at our next meeting to catch up.

Yours in Riding,

Ken Umbarger



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