Today’s Poll

Upgrades planned for city's favourite place to hike

Nelson Daily Editor
By Nelson Daily Editor
October 24th, 2011

An expanded parking area and trail upgrades could be in the near future for the City’s favourite trail.

According to the recently approved purpose and operations (POS) statement from the regional district, changes are proposed to Pulpit Rock Access Regional Park — a .23-acre day use recreation area for locals and tourists alike on the North Shore.

Primarily access to the Pulpit Rock Trail Network from Johnstone Road, the park is zoned limited recreation — with the objective of maintaining the natural environment — but it could see some work on it in the coming year.

Depending on immediate management issues and assessment of risk to RDCK, development costs could range up to $30,000 — but where that money will come from has yet to be determined.

The trail has seen a rapid increase in public use in the past 10 years. Given its growing popularity, the Friends of Pulpit Rock Society and other local volunteers have slowly built additional park infrastructure to meet demand.

But it is anticipated there will be on-going maintenance and development costs associated with the growing usage of this park. Park costs are prioritized at:

  1. ensuring public safety;
  2. maintaining park infrastructure, and;
  3. enhancing the user experience.

Operating costs will include infrastructure maintenance, trail maintenance, hazard tree removal, and identification and mitigation of any public safety hazards.

Although yearly costs vary, and likely subsidized by grants, a range of $3,000 to $4,000 can be expected for yearly facility operations, excluding improvement and professional (e.g. tree faller, biologist, etc.) costs.

Future development costs for Pulpit Rock Access Park and the larger trail network will vary depending on the types of facilities desired by local residents, according to the POS.

Park history

Pulpit Rock Access Regional Park was established in 2008 through subdivision from the adjacent parcel — purchased for $55,000 — for the purpose of ensuring access to the Pulpit Rock Trail Network.

The 0.09 ha (0.23 ac) park is vacant with the exception of a 70-metre portion of heavily used public recreation trail. The trailhead and first 35 m. of trail is on Johnstone Road right-of-way, and is managed by the RDCK through an access permit issued by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. The majority (1.7km) of the Pulpit Rock Trail Network is on Crown land.

The former location of the initial portions of the trail were on private land, where the landowner informally granted access to the public. A subsequent landowner refused public access in 2008 and the trail was closed for a period of time in order to establish more permanent access.

This resulted in the establishment of the Friends of Pulpit Rock Society, with the RDCK director at the time, Al Dawson, jointly organizing the purchase of what is now the Pulpit Rock Access Regional Park.

The Pulpit Rock Trail has been used historically since the 1800s both for mining access and for public recreational use. The trail was developed more extensively in the 1980s when the Chamber of Commerce organized the construction of a new gentler route, from the old steep goat trail that was previously used.

Pulpit Rock Trail Network infrastructure includes a parking area, bike rack, information kiosk, new trail through the RDCK park, and well established trail network on Crown lands.

Friends of Pulpit Rock Society

FPRS is a provincially registered non-profit society, formed in 2008 to ensure permanent public access to Pulpit Rock and higher on Mt. Nelson (Elephant Mountain).

The society is not appointed by the RDCK board, however the Area F director in 2008, Al Dawson, was instrumental in facilitating their cause.

The Society has successfully raised more than $70,000 through grants and private donations, which have been used for land acquisition and trail infrastructure development.

FPRS has also worked with Selkirk College and the Forest Service Wildfire Initial Attach crews for trail assessment, maintenance and upgrading.

The Society has also developed multi-year plans for further trail upgrades and development and is actively exploring grant options. As an established and successful non-profit society, FPRS seeks to obtain matching funding using the Pulpit Rock Trust Fund and government allowances as multipliers.

Natural features

The park is in its natural state, primarily treed hillside, with the majority of human use concentrated along the public recreation trail.

Recreational features

Heavily used day-use location (up to 300 people per day), for both local residents and tourists. An important local tourist attraction and activity. Activities include hiking, nature appreciation, paragliding, and access to rock climbing.

Recreational infrastructure includes a parking area and trailhead outside the park on road right-of-way, and a well-established and maintained recreational trail.

Majority of public use occurs in the summer months, but use does include all seasons.

The Nelson, Salmo, and Electoral Areas E, F, & G Regional Parks, and the volunteer Friends of Pulpit Rock Society is responsible for managing the park and all park facilities.

First Nations

The park is within the asserted traditional First Nation territories of the Lower Kootenay Band, Ktunaxa Nation Council, and Okanagan Nation Alliance.

Categories: General


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