Secret Pond

This week’s Secret Okanagan Spot is what we nicknamed Secret Pond when we discovered it several years ago. The north end of Brandt’s Creek Linear Park in Kelowna is Millard Glen Park on Millard Court. The park doesn't have a bike path and you can’t see it from Millard Court but if you walk to the other end, you will find Secret Pond (and friendly ducks who think you brought them a snack).

This week, we stayed local, local, local because it was hot, hot, hot.

When the Okanagan’s daytime highs are 40 C, you can still play outside — with precautions.

The Sheriff dug out Colleen MacDonald’s neck warmer (letsgobiking.net) which becomes a neck cooler during heatwaves. Soaked in cool water, it’s like a portable air conditioner.

Constant Companion Carmen fills two water bottles with ice cubes, then water; one goes in the bike bag and out of the sun. Both were emptied this week.

Hydrate. A lot.

We e-bike early morning instead of over the lunch hour and set a leisurely pace instead of our usual brisk.

And we choose local trails that we know will be shaded or close to the water. And not too much elevation gain.

So Monday and Tuesday, we cycled (slowly) Brandt’s Creek Linear Park, Paul’s Tomb Trail, Mission Creek Greenway and the breezy multi-use paths along Okanagan Lake in Kelowna. Still too hot? The lake cools your feet and legs so you can make it home.

We could have also cycled the east side of Wood Lake which is both shaded and next to cool lake water during the morning.

Or the east side of Skaha Lake (the South Spur of the KVR Rail Trail) between Penticton and Okanagan Falls with lunch in the shade of Christie Memorial Park in OK Falls. And don’t forget Tickleberry’s for ice cream.

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Speaking of the KVR Rail Trail, you can always learn something new.

The Sheriff was aware of the Smethurst Road parking lot in Naramata, but wasn’t aware of a parking lot near Little Tunnel and another lot near Glenfir Road north of Little Tunnel.

Andrea Rendall, administrative assistant at the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, talked about the two additional lots when announcing surface improvements to the rail trail above Naramata “between the parking lots at Glenfir and Little Tunnel.”

For the Smethhurst parking lot, follow Naramata Road for 15 kilometres, turn right onto North Naramata Road and take the first right onto Smethurst Road.

For the Glenfir parking lot, continue on North Naramata Road past Smethhurst, then take Chute Lake Road just past Glenfir Road to a gravel parking lot on the right.

But you can get even closer to Little Tunnel. From the Glenfir parking lot, there is vehicle access to Little Tunnel by travelling south on the KVR Trail to the Little Tunnel parking area. Use caution since it is multi-use.

The four-kilometre section of trail between Glenfir and Little Tunnel was temporarily closed this week.

Additional trail construction is scheduled between Glenfir and Chute Lake in the coming weeks as the improvement project continues, said Rendall. For trail updates, go to the Regional Trails web page at: rdos.bc.ca.

During the hotter months, make sure to bring enough water since there’s no water source available, she advised.

“With little to no shade along the trail, it can get very hot!”

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The Outdoor Recreation Council of B.C. says the first BC Trails Day on June 5 was “a smashing success!”

Trail and recreation groups hosted more than 30 events across the province including volunteer trail maintenance, educational outreach booths and encouraging new people to visit trails for a hike, ride or paddle.

BC Parks has brought back the day pass system for five popular parks — none locally — but “too little is being done to address the biggest issue: increased demand for the outdoors,” says communications officer Erin Normandeau.

“The reality is that BC has a growing population that loves the outdoors, but a chronic lack of investment in expanding and maintaining trails and outdoor recreation infrastructure in southwestern B.C. has left us with too few places to go with proper recreation infrastructure. We strongly encourage BC Parks to use a significant portion of the recent $83-million funding increase to upgrade existing trails, and to construct new trails and new day areas where current demand necessitates park closures.”

She added: “A new report released by the Forest Practices Board on May 18 found that key forest legislation fails to protect B.C.’s recreation resources and that there has been very little planning related to recreation assets in public forests in the past 20 years.”

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With a rising fire hazard and hot, dry conditions in weather forecasts, the Regional District of Central Okanagan is reminding park visitors of a few fire prevention and safety requirements.

Smoking, vaping, fires or open flames are not allowed in regional parks or community parks.

“While the fines for anyone found violating bylaws range from $250 to $1,000, the greater danger is the risk that smoking and open fires could result in a serious blaze that threatens our parks, amenities, and nearby residents and homes,” said communications officer Bruce Smith.

J.P. Squire, aka the Hiking, Biking, Kayaking and Horseback Riding Sheriff is a retired journalist. Email: jp.squire@telus.net