The city of Williams Lake announced extended access to the River Valley Trail is coming, just in time for the 95th Annual Williams Lake Stampede weekend.
Phase two of the reopening will begin on Monday, June 26 and will include the section of trail from the Tolko log yard to the cattleguard just before the former Frizzi Road parking lot in the valley. Phase one opened May 1, 2023, and included the section of trail from the Comer Street entrance heading south toward the Tolko log yard.
Access and parking for the trail is available through the Comer Street entrance. The former Frizzi Road access was permanently closed due to washouts and safety concerns.
“This is great news for the entire community as one of the area’s premier recreation destinations is one step closer to being fully reopened,” Mayor Surinderpal Rathor said. “We would once again like to thank the community for their patience as remediation work has been ongoing, and we couldn’t be happier to share this news just in time for our world famous Stampede.”
The River Valley Trail suffered extensive damage following catastrophic flooding in April of 2020 resulting in destruction of natural areas and habitat, trails, roadways and city infrastructure. Repairs have totaled multiple millions of dollars and forced the valley’s closure due to public safety concerns while remediation work took place.
The city is asking the public to refer to map signage that will be posted at the Comer Street entrance for important safety information. The map is also available online at www.williamslake.ca/481/Williams-Lake-River-Valley-Trail.
Public using the trail should be aware that construction zones may be encountered. Motorized vehicle use is not permitted in the river valley, and rock hauling is continuing in some areas.
“We’re asking anyone using the trail to respect signage and not enter worksites, as well as use caution on the trail as occasional construction traffic will be present,” said Gary Muraca, chief administrative officer.
Muraca noted over the coming months there may also be temporary closures or site-specific safety protocols along the section of trail identified as open. On-site safety guidance will be provided by the city or contractors in these situations.
“City staff, consultants, contractors and community groups have done an excellent job restoring recreational features and infrastructure in the trail section opening to the public and we’re thrilled to be able to open up a further portion of this amazing trail for the community,” Muraca said.
Phase three of the River Valley Trail reopening is planned to take place some time in August, which will include the remaining portion of trail extending to the Fraser River.