The District of Summerland has received a prestigious Heritage BC Award for its Okanagan Fur Brigade Trail Linear Park.
The award, in the heritage conservation category, was presented to Coun. Janet Peake at a ceremony in Vancouver in February.
The 4.1-kilometre park is a portion of the 790-km Fur Brigade Trail (1811-1846) that extended from Washington State to Fort Alexandria in central B.C.
The Summerland section is the only part of the trail protected by park status.
The trail links one of its most important early settlements (Priest Camp 1845-1848) in Summerland with a lookout and dramatic view high above Okanagan Lake.
The history of First Nations is a central feature of the linear park, and is enhanced with heritage interpretive signage in English and Okanagan First Nations.
The trail was originally part of a First Nations trade route linking the Similkameen, Nicola and Okanagan Valleys, and thought to be 6,000 years old.
The park enhances the District of Summerland’s trail systems, which include a section of the Trans Canada Trail and Phase 1 of Trail of the Okanagans.
A secured 30-year lease with the province of B.C. on a trail section outside Summerland’s boundaries will enable district planners to consider improving public accessibility and amenities over the long term.
Support for the award’s nomination came from the District of Summerland; Summerland Heritage Advisory Commission; Okanagan Historical Society and its Trail Committee; Okanagan Similkameen Parks Society; Trail of the Okanagans, and the Summerland Museum and Heritage Society.
A free public event, Tea at the Top, sponsored by the Trail of the Okanagans, is scheduled for Sunday, May 8, at the park’s viewpoint. Cyclists and hikers are invited to discover the park’s history and to learn more about a proposal to create a designated bike path along the trail north to Peachland.