The Myra Canyon Restoration Project

July 4, 2007 | 16 comments

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).

ken-and-vp-myra.JPG
Valerie Pringle and Ken Campbell

vp-bike-myra.JPG
Valerie at the brink!

Comments



  • Most of the Myra Canyon bridges burned down. Oh this is so sad, I have almost tears in my eyes!

    I cycled the TCT / KVR some years ago from Nelson to Hope and really enjoyed the spectacular section of the Myra Canyon! Thank you for your efforts to rebuild these bridges, it would be an unimaginable loss if the section would need to be closed or rerouted!

    Regards from Stockholm/Sweden
    Kai-Uwe

    Kai-Uwe Och  |  July 31st, 2007 at 2:56 pm


  • My stepsons and I rode the KVR Myra canyon section just weeks before the fire. It was a magical experience. I was very sorry to hear of the devastation. We want to be able to do this trail again, so we can’t wait for the final reconstruction.
    I must say it has been difficult to get news of the status of the rebuild so thanks for this update.

    Rene Andersen  |  August 15th, 2007 at 9:40 am


  • You’re welcome! We’ll be keeping an eye on the progress of the restoration and adding news as it becomes available.

    Ringer  |  August 15th, 2007 at 10:28 am


  • Can the public now ride to the end of the 12th trestle?
    If so, approximately how far is that distance?

    Barry Turner  |  August 18th, 2007 at 10:50 pm


  • Hi Barry,
    Although work on the Myra Canyon trestles continues apace, public access is permitted only from the trailhead parking lot at Myra through to the first tunnel. While trestles 2,3, and 4 have been rebuilt, the movement of machinery over them and continuing work makes public access unsafe at this time. Valerie was given a tour, complete with hardhat and safety gear, so that we could give everyone an update.
    The total distance from Myra to Ruth is 12 km. The folks at the Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society are hoping that the remaining work will be completed by the end of 2007. After that, the trail will be resurfaced and amenities lost in the fire will be replaced.
    The target date for reopening of the trail is spring or early summer of 2008. We will continue to update the public as news becomes available.
    Thanks for your question,
    Ringer

    Ringer  |  August 19th, 2007 at 5:25 pm


  • are the trestles done yet? Can I plan for summer 2008 to rid through?

    Thanks!!!

    Dave  |  January 21st, 2008 at 7:55 pm


  • You can plan to attend the TCT 2008 Challenge, which will also be the grand reopening of the Myra Canyon section of the Kettle Valley Trail. Check out our most recent post and/or http://www.trailsbc.ca for all the info.

    Ringer  |  February 19th, 2008 at 11:41 am


  • Will the trail be open for cycling by the May long week-end, or maybe even earlier?
    Susan

    Susan Brummitt  |  March 19th, 2008 at 5:06 pm


  • I have walked a couple of the trestles and was so beautiful and when they burned in 2003 I was devastated but have donated to their restoration every year.

    t. bryan campbell-hope  |  May 27th, 2008 at 12:21 am


  • A fantastic job nearly done. keep up the good work.
    bryan

    t. bryan campbell-hope  |  May 27th, 2008 at 12:22 am


  • Valerie;

    This is an awesome accomplishment. Good to see you wearing a helmet but don’t forget to wear it when on your bike too.

    Wayne Lessard  |  May 27th, 2008 at 8:36 am


  • I cycled the KVR Myra Canyon section in Aug.’o8. What a fabulous ride! I would like to cross country ski the same route at the end of this month (Jan.) Is the Forestry Road plowed to the parking lot during the winter months?

    lesley  |  January 7th, 2009 at 12:45 pm


  • Hi Lesley,

    Our intrepid Trail Identification Officer phoned the Kelowna Tourism Info Center and was informed that the roads up to the rail bed are NOT maintained during the winter.

    He also contacted a local bike/ski shop and was told that June Springs Road may be cleared due to the fact that there are residences up as far as 2/3 of the way to the rail bed. However, the rail bed is not track set for skiing.

    Here’s a website to check – http://www.kelownanordic.com.

    Hope this helps!

    Ringer  |  January 8th, 2009 at 1:21 pm


  • This just in from area supervisor Kirk Illingworth:
    The road to the Myra Station is maintained in winter and is presently ok for a 2 wheel drive vehicle with proper winter tires. There is a parking lot ploughed out inside the cattle guard with space for approx 15 vehicles. There has been some snowmobile traffic on the trestle bed which has packed the snow making skiing conditions good and fast. On the weekend you may see the odd snowmobile but I suggest going anytime – it will be a great ski well into the spring.

    Kirk Illingworth
    Area Supervisor
    East Okanagan
    Parks and Protected Areas Division
    Ministry of Environment

    250 490 8266

    Ringer  |  January 15th, 2009 at 12:53 pm


  • Just wondering if the trails at Myra Canyon are appropriate for families with children, ours are 7 and 9.
    Thanks,
    Barb

    Barb  |  June 8th, 2009 at 10:04 am


  • Hi Barb,

    There may well be some rough or steep patches but there is much to entertain the young ones on the KVR Trail. The best person to contact is Léon Lebrun of Trails BC. He can be reached via email at southwest@trailsbc.ca or phone at (604) 737-3188.

    Have a good trip!

    Ringer  |  June 16th, 2009 at 4:56 pm


Leave a Comment

You must enter a name.
You must enter a valid email address.
You must enter a comment.

Chapter 150

This circle of influential and visionary leaders will help us connect the Trail and all Canadians.

Did you know?

The Trail is within 30 minutes of over 80% of Canadians and runs through or near 1,000 communities.

Donate now

Donate now and help connect the Trail by Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017. The Government of Canada will match 50 cents of every dollar you donate!

Photos from the Trail


Photo by: Manitoba Recreational Trail Association
Trail: Crocus Trail