The Myra Canyon Restoration Project

July 4, 2007 | 5 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).

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Valerie Pringle and Ken Campbell

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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


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