Preliminary field research and inventory of the trails network in the South Shuswap Peninsula conducted by the Shuswap Trail Alliance under contract with the CSRD is now nearly complete.
The South Shuswap Peninsula is the large area bordered by Balmoral Road, Eagle Bay, Wild Rose Bay, Cinnemousin Narrows, Hermit Bay, Herald Bay, and Sunnybrae, with White Lake and Herman Lake located in the middle. Additional mapping and field research was also conducted in the Tappen to Skimikin Lake area. With completion of the field research, mapping and data documentation, the next stage will be to initiate Secwepemc, community, stakeholder and land manager/leadership tenure consultations.
Work conducted thus far shows excellent potential for a South Shuswap Destination Trail system which would support multiple user groups with new hiking, mountain bike, equestrian, snowshoe, ATV, and lake-based paddling trails. The longest trail, which would follow the lake around the peninsula, tentatively dubbed as The Great Cinnemousin Trail, would be some 136 kilometres in length. This sets up the possibility of a hut-to-hut, a B&B-to-B&B or a resort cabin-to resort cabin trail network with hikers and mountain bikers escaping into the South Shuswap peninsula for multiple days at a time.
Within the interior of the peninsula, there could be many different types of trails and circle routes in terms of length, difficulty and terrain, thus appealing to a wide variety of user groups. Mapping has identified a number of key community trailhead hubs which could be used as meeting and parking sites. Initial non-motorized plans have been drawn up for both the White Lake/Cedar Creek/Skimikin/Reinecker Creek corridor as well as the Skimikin Lake Recreation Site Trail area.
Many opportunities will be generated as the trail system is developed over time. Guided, historic and interpretive walks, along with authentic cultural and First Nations experiences will appeal to many. There will be opportunities to tell stories and to encourage visitors to become closely attached to the Shuswap, and there will be needs for suppliers of accommodations, equipment, hiking/biking supplies and food.
Full development of the South Shuswap Destination Trails system will take many years and will require a substantial investment and a thoughtful and comprehensive planning process. The goals are to create more robust, varied and sustainable visitor experiences so as to enable the South Shuswap to grow as a premium tourism destination, to provide residents with an expanded variety of great recreational options, and to do so in a way such that the human and natural landscapes merge and coexist in a complementary manner.
We are very fortunate to have a group like the Shuswap Trail Alliance leading this project and guiding its development. As we progress, new reports will appear here.
-Paul Demenok is the Area C Director for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District