The Valley will gain one new trail after the Akisqnuk First Nation Band received a $19,000 grant from the British Columbia Canada 150: Celebrating B.C. Communities and their Contributions to Canada grant. The grant was presented to the Akisqnuk community during the Aboriginal Day Festival at Lakeshore Resort and Campground on Sunday, June 18th by Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok.
“I think what it does is it demonstrates another way that we can work with our indigenous community and – shoot– it’s going to be really cool to have people walk along that trail from an interpretive perspective and I was really pleased to be invited to be there and make that announcement,” said Clovechok.
The trail is a two-kilometre path which has been around for hundreds of years but in recent years was blocked off due to it being in an archeologically sensitive area.
“We’ve had it as an out of bounds area. People haven’t been able to use it and when we had the archeological survey done last fall, they said ‘nope, that was a sensitive area and it shouldn’t be developed’. So then we came up with the idea, okay the trail is already there, they figure that it was an existing animal trail for hundreds of years, seeing as the trail is already there we will just use what’s existing,” said Kaylene Earl, Lakeshore Resort and Campground manager.
According to Earl, no excavating or trail building will be done to the existing path; they will be using whatever is already existing and add interpretive signs to the trail.
“Education on the territory, what the traditional Ktunaxa territory encompasses, the huge land mass and the history is some of the education. Then the flora and fauna of the area, leave no trace, those kinds of things,” said Earl.
While they were notified as recipients of the grant back in April, the cheque just arrived so the eight new signs will be created over the next few months.
“The signs are going to be built by Akisqnuk members as well as the graphics for the literature. We will have one in the traditional language and one in English,” said Earl.
With the new trail being open to the public, Clovechok was hopeful this will highlight more indigenous culture.
“I think what it will do is it will highlight even more the indigenous cultures that we have in our valley which are important between the Akisqnuk and the Shuswap Band, but it will get people engaged and out for a nice walk and introduce them to the campground,” said Clovechok.
Once the signs are created and are in place the Akisqnuk community will commemorate the trail and hold a celebration to bless the path.