Restoring a Tradition

Opened in 1898, St. Eugene Church near Cranbrook is one of the few late-Victorian wooden churches remaining in BC, complete with a towering steeple, buttressed corners, hand-cut shingles and stained glass windows from Italy. Now Ɂaq ̕am, a Ktunaxa First Nations community, has undertaken major restoration work that has brought the church back to its former glory. With Trust support, it completed the restoration in August 2016.


Enjoying a Marsh

Located two kilometres south of the Village of Valemount, the Starratt Wildlife Management Area—known locally as Cranberry Marsh—is home to over a hundred bird species, plus moose, deer, muskrat and beaver. With support from the Trust, Tourism Valemount has enabled visitors to circumnavigate the spongy, fragile marsh by completing a flat, six-kilometre trail, including two 600-metre sections of boardwalk. Visitors can now easily wind along the marsh through forests of black spruce and aspen, while enjoying the open vistas of three stunning mountain ranges: the Cariboos, Monashees and Rockies.


Launching Boats

For decades, recreation lovers have enjoyed boating and fishing on Kootenay Lake. However, recent years have seen a decline in the number of public boat launches on the east side of the lake. To help remedy the situation, the Boswell and District Farmers’ Institute has received Trust support to refurbish its local boat launch. In phase one, it installed a floating breakwater, in phase two, it will rebuild the boat ramp and dock, and in the final phase it will pave and resurface the parking lot.


Clearing a Trail

The 61-kilometre Earl Grey Pass Trail has been used as an important First Nation’s travel corridor, a pass for cattle drives and even a mining road. Now it’s a rugged hiking route that traverses the Purcell Mountain Range from Argenta on Kootenay Lake to Toby Creek near Invermere. After floods and wildlife took out part of the trail and windstorms knocked down trees at the western end, impeding travel, the Kaslo and District Community Forest Society received Trust support to restore the trail. John Cathro who has worked with local volunteers on the project says, “This year will focus on major trail rehabilitation and rebuilding at the west side, working as far to the east as possible. Next year, we’ll focus on completing the trail work, installing interpretive signage and community outreach.” The Kaslo Community Forest Youth Crew will perform the work both years.


Repurposing a Fire Hall

The mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle” is practised widely throughout the Kootenays. In Nakusp, the Old Fire Hall Collective Society has refurbished and repurposed the Village-owned, 65-year-old hall with Trust support. The building now houses a local farmers’ market and community kitchen on the main floor, and meeting rooms upstairs. “The farmers’ market is very important to the community, both from a food security issue and economically,” says president Rosemary Hughes. “Having a well-stocked, restaurant-grade kitchen allows vendors to cook and process their edible foodstuffs right on-site. There’s even a cold storage area, and future plans call for educational classes to be taught that will help local residents grow their own food.”


Supporting Snow Mobilers

Surrounded by mountain scenery that leaves people in awe, Revelstoke is known for some of the best snowmobiling in Canada. The Revelstoke Snowmobile Club has now made the area even more appealing by building a new welcome centre, which offers warm facilities for sledders, reminds them how to enjoy the backcountry safely and provides indoor storage space for the club’s snow-grooming equipment. It’s also used for Board meetings and annual club events. Built with Trust support, the centre is located en route to the Boulder Mountain and Frisby Ridge trail systems.


Good Fences Make Good Neighbours

Ranchers and off-road vehicle users sometimes have competing needs. At McGinty Lake near Kimberley, the Meadowbrook Community Association is working to make sure both groups can enjoy the space without infringing upon the other. Supported by the Trust, the association has replaced and relocated the area’s smooth-wire fence with sturdier barbed wire, allowing native plants to regenerate by the shoreline with minimal disturbance from livestock and off-road vehicles.


Lighting Up the City

Reflecting in the waters of the Columbia River, the Victoria Street Bridge’s new lights dance to music, illuminating and enhancing Trail’s downtown and riverfront areas. Supported by the Trust, the project involved permanent installation of 104 programmable colour-changing LED lights along the bridge’s arches, as well as white lights shining down each bridge column. These will be lit up every night for the enjoyment of residents and visitors, plus can be creatively sequenced for city celebrations and holidays and seasons.


Supporting Community

In small towns like Field, the community centre acts as the main gathering place. Craig Chapman, former Board member of the Field Recreation Advisory Association, says, “All of Field’s major community events are held at the hall: meetings, training sessions, weddings, potluck suppers, dances and major celebrations like the ones on Canada Day and for the Yoho Blow Winter Festival.” Supported by the Trust, recent upgrades include a new security system, an energy-efficient furnace and windows, and improved accessibility and acoustics.