Seven of the local parks now have designated trails marked with names and rating signs so visitors can see their degree of difficulty. There are also trail profiles giving a visual snapshot of elevation changes and other features over the length of the designated trails.
“In our Guide to Regional Parks, we’ve always provided a simple rating system for many of our outings in the ‘Take a Hike’ and ‘Explore Your Parks’ programs,” said RDCO’s Bruce Smith. “But with a grant from the BC Community Recreation Program dedicated to improving trail signage and the visitor experience in our parks, we’ve been gradually rolling out a uniform trail naming/rating system along with trail profile information.
“Visitor can determine before starting their hike, whether the trail experience will match or perhaps challenge their ability.”
Green circles suggest a very easy/easy outing. Blue squares provide a more moderate experience, while black diamonds indicate a more difficult or very difficult trail over steep, variable terrain with more obstacles and little maintenance.
Designated trails in Glen Canyon, Kalamoir, Rose Valley, Trepanier Creek Greenway, Johns Family Nature Conservancy, the Mission Creek Greenway and Mission Creek Regional Park all have trail name and rating signs in place. “The ratings are based mainly on slope and distance and provide visitors with a consistency across our park system. The experience on one trail in one park should be the same with a similarly rated trail in another,” Smith said.
As well as signs at information kiosks in these parks, search individual park webpages at www.regionaldistrict.com/pickapark. All the online park trail maps are GPS-enabled so you can take your smartphone or tablet to help navigate the trail systems.
First Nations connection
As well, park visitors will notice recognition of the syilx/Okanagan culture with the new trail name signs. “We’ve been collaborating for some time now with cultural services staff at Westbank First Nation and Sncəwips Heritage Museum to develop and translate trail names in both English and the Okanagan nsyilxcǝn language.
“We’re also starting to install interpretive panels in these areas to further explain the cultural and historical significance of the name in order to raise awareness and provide some context for this important aspect of life in the Central Okanagan.”
Accessible to all
For many years, the Regional District has promoted barrier-free access to its regional parks encouraging opportunities for everyone to get out and explore regional parks.
With the excellent volunteers of CRIS, the Community Recreational Initiatives Society, regional parks are open to people of all abilities. Contact CRIS www.adaptiveadventures.ca to join in on any Parks Services program.