Kaien Trail Society branches out with new network trail

Rail Trail is the latest project in their Phase 1 plan to connect Prince Rupert

Kaien Trails Society is bushwhacking their way to a sustainably connected city.

In July, community volunteers and board members of the trail society brought their tools out to a newly planned trail and began chopping their way through a small portion in the bushes.

The current project is part of Phase 1 of the society’s Master Plan, a concept to connect Kaien Island through a trail network accessible to as many people as possible while also offering routes to recreational, cultural and natural amenities along the way, said Sean Carlson, president of the trail society.

READ MORE: Tall Trees Trail added to Kaien Island trail network

Carlson said Phase 1 encompasses a loop connecting Prince Rupert’s waterfront out to Butze Rapid’s trailhead, to the Civic Centre, to Cow Bay and back to Seal Cove via Rushbrook Trail.

Map of the Phase 1 Loop (highlighted in yellow) in the Kaien Trails Society’s Master Plan to connect the island via a network of hiking trails. (screenshot from the Kaien Island Trail Network – Official Plan 2017)

The new trail – tentatively called the Rail Trail – is one small part of Phase 1, which will span from Seal Cove to the Industrial Park.

“Hopefully we can get this done sooner rather than later. Rushbrook took 15 years, but we’re hoping with the momentum and benefit that people are seeing with Rushbrook we can get it done a lot quicker,” said Carlson.

Rail Trail’s potential name is a reference to the past when the route would have been the actual rail line that could have gone around Kaien Island. The Grand Trunk Pacific Rail Line was supposed to go around Prince Rupert but never passed Sourdough Bay.

With some volunteers covered over the ankles in mud, there is still a long trail ahead before its completion. The trail consists mostly of flat terrain with sections of steady inclines throughout the hike and offers viewpoints of the water with a nice breeze to stave off the sweat.

Carlson said the trail is still in the feasibility and pre-design stage, but they plan to make it accessible to bikers and as friendly as possible to people with disabilities. There is also no cost assigned to the project yet as they still have many discussions to get through with landowners.

PHOTOS AND READ MORE: Rushbrook Trail receives its annual spring spruce-up

Map of the proposed network trail connecting Kaien Island via a network of hiking trails. (screenshot from the Kaien Island Trail Network – Official Plan 2017)

Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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