Cariboo Regional District and Williams Lake staff and elected officials joined with Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes (second from left) to open the new Gavin Lake trail.

Cariboo Regional District and Williams Lake staff and elected officials joined with Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes (second from left) to open the new Gavin Lake trail.

Gavin Lake accessible trail officially opens

Gavin Lake, is the latest community in the Cariboo Chilcotin to develop a wheelchair accessible wilderness trail, reports the CRD.

  • Aug. 26, 2013 4:00 p.m.

Gavin Lake, is the latest community in the Cariboo Chilcotin to develop a wheelchair accessible wilderness trail, reports the Cariboo Regional District.

It’s called the Gavin Lakeshore Trail and was built in partnership between the Cariboo Regional District (CRD); the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development; Northern Development Initiative Trust; the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition, and the Gavin Lake Forest Education Society (GLFES).

Ongoing management of the site will be provided by the Gavin Lake Forest Education Society.

“The Cariboo Regional District is to be applauded for making accessible trails a priority. For people with mobility issues, providing accessibility is more than just creating smoother pathways. It’s about opening up opportunities to participate more fully in life. It’s wonderful to see this accessible trail project come together so close to my home in B.C.,” said Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

“Its completion represents one of approximately 14 accessible trail upgrades in the Cariboo region that we were pleased to support with a grant of $401,250 through the Community Recreation Program.”

From the $401,250 Community Recreation Program grant awarded to Cariboo Regional District for the accessible trail upgrade projects, $26,500 was dedicated to Gavin Lakeshore Trail.

“I am extremely pleased that we have now completed the Gavin Lakeshore Trail,” stated CRD Electoral Area F Director, Joan Sorley.

“This is the next step in making the Cariboo Chilcotin one of the most attractive wheelchair accessible tourism destinations in the world. Projects such as the Gavin Lakeshore Trail show what can be accomplished through regional collaboration and commitment to improving the quality of life for residents and visitors of all abilities.”

The wheelchair friendly trail is approximately 365 metres long, but options to expand the trail by another 31 metres will be completed by the end of 2013.

The trail consists of an accessible boardwalk traversing through wetland along the shores of Gavin Lake, picturesque viewpoints, and an accessible bridge that crosses over Gavin Creek where it flows into Gavin Lake. Accessible washrooms and benches have been placed in convenient locations along the route.

“The official trail opening is the completion of a vision that started over two years ago,” stated Gavin Lake Forest Education Society Chair, John Stace-Smith.

“It will allow many more people from the adjacent communities to enjoy the beauty of Gavin Lake and take in the outdoor experience in a self-guided, safe and enjoyable way.  The trail construction has involved many volunteers and tremendous support from all sectors:  governments, agencies, academia, corporations, individuals and the GLFES board itself. ”

“Northern Development is proud to have provided financial support for this project through our Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program,” said Northern Development Initiative Trust CEO Janine North.

“The development of these wheelchair accessible wilderness trails means that more people will be able to enjoy this beautiful part of our province, which will increase recreation opportunities and visitor numbers to the area.”

“This is the kind of regional project that the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition is excited to be a part of,” stated CCBAC Chair, Mayor Kerry Cook.

It is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when you have champions willing to roll up their sleeves and get the job done, supported by partnerships that demonstrate cooperation and collaboration.

Projects such as the Gavin Lake Trail improve our communities by making our countryside accessible to all, and enhance the visitor experience in the Cariboo Chilcotin.”

The $30-million Community Recreation Program was developed to address the unique challenges faced by communities in the Province with respect to meeting their recreational infrastructure needs.

The program invests in local government capital projects that make communities healthier, more active places in which to live.

Through the duration of the program, the B.C. government provided grants for 98 recreation projects throughout B.C. – to help fund everything from bike paths, trails, fitness facilities and walkways to playgrounds and recreation centres.

The CRD Board passed a resolution in 2006 to work towards developing the Cariboo Chilcotin as a world leader in accessible outdoor recreation and tap into niche tourism markets for persons of low mobility.

Other wheelchair accessible sites within the CRD include Tatlayoko, Kersley, Cottonwood Historic Site, 108 Mile/Sepa Lakes, Lac La Hache and the Horsefly Salmon Spawning Trails.

There are currently 12 other accessible wilderness trails being developed by the CRD, some of which were funded through the Community Recreation Program.