What does Christmas mean for #OurTrail?

 In News
[lead]Tis the season of giving and the Westside Legacy Trail is a great example of a gift to the Valley. The Pioneer contacted Mark Halwa of the Columbia Valley Greenways Trail Alliance, to ask how the land for the trail was gifted.[/lead]

Halwa responded with, “We went door knocking down Westside Road and the conversation went something like this”:

Knock-Knock. Who’s there? It’s the Greenways Trail Alliance and we have this great idea for a new Valley trail. We were wondering if you would like to provide your land for everyone to use, and if you wouldn’t mind signing a legal document, it will guarantee the trail will be available for all time. And here’s the good part, thousands of people will use this in increasing numbers – can we count you in?

Halwa reminisced and further mentioned, “Although the generosity of this Valley has been demonstrated many times, giving land is quite different than volunteering time or donating cash. A land donation is very personal and not a single landowner asked for any compensation. Everyone thought it would be a welcome addition to our already active community”.

“As most people know, the trail was given a large boost by Bob and Barb Shaunessy of SRL Ranches who donated the largest amount of land, followed by a cash donation to get the planning underway. The Shaunessy’s are huge supporters of the community, the local environment and their leadership brought an incredible amount of momentum”.

Greenways has now launched a capital campaign to raise the funds to begin trail construction, and people can donate directly on their new web site located at www.OurTrail.org. Any amount can be given, and charitable tax receipts are issued. Over 40 grant applications have been submitted, or are being worked on, and Greenways has discovered a new cash matching grant opportunity where donations will be doubled for funds received before the end of January.

“Please consider the generosity of the land owners, who became land donors”, says Halwa. “Without their generosity, we would never have this trail”. “Full-time and part-time residents can come together to build and use this trail for all time, adding another multi-million dollar recreational asset to make our Valley an even better and more unique place”.

In addition to the Shaunessy’s, the other land donors are, Castle Rock Estates, Grizzly Ridge Properties, Shane, Sandy and Janice McKay, Melvin and Jean Hemmelgarn, Al & Lucia Merlo and Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. The BC Ministry of Transportation also provided land, and has issued a permit for construction to begin.

Greenways would like to wish everyone happy holidays on the trails, shared with their families and friends.

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