The Myra Canyon Restoration Project
A special report by Valerie Pringle, Chair of the Board
I have been to the brink and it was more exciting than I could have imagined. This past May, Ken Campbell of the Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society and I cycled as far as anyone has gone on the Myra Canyon section of the Kettle Valley Railway since the devastating forest fire of 2003. All the way up to Trestle #8. This took us over 3 surviving trestles and 7 of the rebuilt ones and through the two tunnels.
In 2003, 12 of the 16 historic wooden trestles designed by the famous engineer Andrew McCulloch and built between 1910 and 1914 were destroyed and 2 of the steel trestles severely damaged. This breathtaking rail trail just outside Kelowna was restored by volunteers from the Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society in the mid-1990s and was the Jewel in the Crown of the Trans Canada Trail.
It has been closed since the fire in 2003.
The restoration project, funded very generously by the Federal and Provincial governments, has been highly successful. The last 4 wooden trestles (numbers 4, 5, 7 and 8 ) will be rebuilt by winter of this year and number 6 will be resurfaced.
There is passion in the rebuilding. I spoke with Brent Kokonis, who was a Project Supervisor, about the magic of the place and the fact that, for someone who usually builds bridges and highway overpasses, this has been one of the great accomplishments of his life. Kevin Witzke, the Design Engineer, has loved the history and the intricate task of recreating the engineering marvel that is the Myra Canyon Trail.
I welcome you all to the Grand Re-Opening of the Myra Canyon Trail next spring and you can cycle or walk the 12 magnificent kilometers from Myra to Ruth (and beyond).
Valerie Pringle and Ken Campbell
Valerie at the brink!