Photo credit: Okanagan Outdoors Club
“Ahead of schedule and beyond our wildest dreams,” is how volunteers are characterizing the Okanagan Rail Trail grass roots fundraising initiative. According to Leanne Hammond, executive director of the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan, one of two community foundations responsible for stewarding donated funds, “We were initially seen as having a lofty goal and cautioned to prepare ourselves for potential disappointment, but we never saw that an option with the amazing group of volunteer ambassadors who fueled this project with their optimism and sheer determination.”
When local governments, with financial support from the Province of British Columbia, stepped forward to purchase the discontinued CN rail corridor, they provided us with an unparalleled opportunity to create a legacy for our communities. With an army of volunteers, donors, businesses and 2 community foundations to receive the receipt the donations we did it!
5,089 donations raised the $7.8 million required to develop the trail one meter at a time.
Okanagan Rail Trail Quick Facts:
- $22 million – purchase price of discontinued rail corridor
- $50 million asking price
- $7.86 million – estimated cost to construct the trail
- 48.5 km – length of trail when completed (17.8 km in Kelowna, 2.3 km in Okanagan Indian Band, 16.3 km in Lake Country, 12.1 km in North Okanagan)
- 24 km – total distance of lakefront, creeks and truly unique natural habitats along the trail
- 1.3% maximum grade of trail
- 212,000 – combined estimated population of communities along the trail
- 588,000 – estimated # of annual users by year 5
- 43 – number of cultural and recreational points of interest within 500 metres of trail