Funds are coming to the Okanagan for tourism projects including more bike trails. (North Okanagan Cycling Society photo)

Funds are coming to the Okanagan for tourism projects including more bike trails. (North Okanagan Cycling Society photo)

Tourism funds ride into Okanagan

Bike trails, Indigenous landmarks being added around the valley

While tourism booths are closing around the Okanagan, new initiatives are popping up across the valley to get locals out.

Fourteen new destination and tourism infrastructure developments are underway in the region, including biking and hiking trails and Indigenous landmarks.

“We know recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic for businesses and people in the tourism sector are critically important. This fund creates new tourism infrastructure, which will help the sector recover, create local jobs and spur economic development,” Tourism Minister Melanie Mark said.

The largest share of the funding, $600,000, is going towards regional mountain bike tourism development, building full-length signature downhill and cross country mountain bike trails.

Other projects are:

• Shuswap-North Okanagan Rail Trail (Sicamous to Armstrong) $250,000 towards development of a 3.5 km pilot section of the trail connecting Enderby and Splatsin te Secwépemc

• CRIS Outdoors For All $210,000 to construct and equip mobile equipment rentals for adaptive cycling, kayaking, ski and hiking gear

• Spinal Cord Injury BC $210,000 to enhance AccessNow app to include tourism values and mapping missions

• Larch Hills Nordic Society $200,000 for six kms of trail lighting

• Secwépemc Landmarks Initiative $170,000 for development and installation of eight iconic public landmarks at key locations in Shuswap Lakes region

• Merritt Mountain bike trail development $145,000 for construction of 4,000 meters of trail to complete existing Iron Mountain trail

• Grey Canal Trail $110,000 to construct one km connection between Turtle Mountain and Davidson Orchards, completing an eight-kilometre continuous trail section in Vernon

• Valemont bike trail development $105,000 to complete four mountain bike trails and a skill development zone

• Overland Ski Club $75,000 upgrades to Stake Lake Nordic ski area including lengthening trail lighting, improving trail bed, expanding snow shoeing

• BC Regional Tourism Secretariat $45,000 collaborative regional project

• Cariboo Wagon Road $30,000 for restoration of the non-motorized visitor road with parking, signage, restrooms and Wi-Fi

• Caravan Farm Theatre audio land walk $25,000 to build three recorded storytelling tracks to accompany a 20-30 minute walk through the 80-acre site

• Regional Training and Inspiration Centre $25,000 to complete construction of a welcome centre, specifically patio with electric vehicle charging stations

“Attracting more visitors to the Thompson-Okanagan is a boost for our local operators, their families and our communities at large,” Vernon-Monashee MLA Harwinder Sandhu said.

“We are already fortunate enough to live in a world-class tourist destination that plays a crucial role in our economy, and I’m happy to see these investments helping make sure our communities recover quickly by creating even more opportunities for people to explore our beautiful part of the world.”

READ MORE: Technology replaces Vernon’s tourism centre

READ MORE: Many potential benefits to Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail


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