The Galena trail is a historical trail which follows the path of the old CPR Nakusp to Sandon railway line, a remnant of the mining industry that prospered in this area in the late 1800’s and early 1900s. A major silver find on Payne Mountain, near the city of Sandon (now a ghost town) immediately grew the city, resulting in the CPR connecting this region with their mainline.
The railway received its charter from the provincial government in 1892 and was immediately leased by the CPR. By October 1894, the railway was completed from Nakusp, along Slocan Lake and up the valley to Three Forks. Decreasing traffic, high maintenance costs and railway deregulation saw services cut back and eventually abandoned during the latter part of the 20th century. The line between New Denver and Three Forks was severed in the 1950s due
to mudslides and rails were removed. The last rail car ferry on Slocan Lake was closed in 1988.
The trail was developed into a non-motorized recreation area in the 1990’s. It was at this time that the original boardwalk, located approximately 2km from the New Denver trailhead, was constructed using the old train trestles as its foundation. In April 2019, the Regional District of Central Kootenay, who manages the trail through a License of Occupation, closed the trail due to structural concerns. The old train trestles were badly rotten and no longer provided stability tothe boardwalk structure.
When funding through the federal ‘Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program’ applied for by the RDCK and Galena Trail and Rosebery Wetlands Commission was postponed, members of the North Slocan Trail Society and the Village of New Denver Council approached KASA for alternative funding opportunities. KASA was successful in obtaining funds through a WorkBC Job Creation Partnership funded through the Government of Canada and the Province of
British Columbia, with additional funding provided by the Regional District of Central Kootenay and Columbia Basin Trust.
The Galena trail and boardwalk are already used for KASA/Kootenay Sufferfest‘s popular annual race the Idaho Peak Ultra and 10k Trail Run. In addition, the trail is an ideal opportunity for creating an inclusive outdoor space and trail for all non motorized recreational users, including those on adaptive mountain bikes (aMTB) or 3-4 wheel bikes. This fits long term vision for the Galena trail to be inclusive from Three Forks to Rosebery (and beyond), thus the Boardwalk is being built to standards which will not present barriers to users. The construction of the new 120’ Boardwalk will take place August – December 2019. The engineered design includes galvanized steel beams, concrete footings, and Douglas fir decking and cedar railings. It will resemble the historic old train trestle in aesthetics and will last for 50+ years with little maintenance.
KASA is proud to be a part of this legacy project on one of the most iconic trails of the Kootenays. The partnership is through a contract with the Regional District of Central Kootenay with KASA as the Project Holder with the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. KASA has created 7 local jobs for this project, providing valuable on the job training and skill development for under or un-employed individuals and youth in the region.
The Galena Trail is popular with young and old, slow and fast, hikers and bikers and is the ending for numerous other trails coming down Idaho Peak including the Alamo Trail. There is a cable car crossing that is a notable experience by many visitors that use the trail. More information is available about the trail from the New Denver Visitors Center.