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Silver Star and Sovereign Lake trail systems threatened by developers

Fri, May  21, 2010 - By Citizens Coalition to Save Silver Star Provincial Park

May 20, 2010 (Silver Star, BC) – This is an urgent message to the cross-country skiing community – the Silver Star / Sovereign Lake Nordic Trail system is renowned worldwide as a Nordic skier’s paradise. The 50km Sovereign Lake trail system within Silver Star Provincial Park, combined with the 60km of trails in the former parklands at Silver Star Resort make for a truly world class Nordic skiing experience. With amazing snow and a perfect climate, it is no wonder that the Silver Star / Sovereign Lake trail system is a favorite among national ski teams from around the globe.

  • Sovereign Lake trail system here.
  • Silver Star Provincial Park here.

This Nordic skiers’ paradise is now threatened by real estate development, and up to 30 kilometres of some of the best cross country ski trails on the mountain could be lost to condominium and vacation home construction. If the ski resort carries out its ambitious plans to construct over 26,000 bed units on the mountain, scenic trails such as Sidewinder, TJ’s Corkscrew, Bella Vista, Heartbeat, and Beetlejuice are just a few of the trails that will likely be lost forever to condominium and vacation home construction. These trails were originally developed within Silver Star Provincial Park under a park use permit, specifically for the 1991 World Cup – read more here. However, they were deleted from the park not long after the World Cup races, and within two years of their deletion, the resort had drawn up plans to have these lands rezoned for condominium construction.

The Regional District of North Okanagan followed suit by pre-zoning the World Cup Nordic trails for medium density residential development. Now, as the owner of the Master Development Agreement with the Province, Schumann Resorts has a monopoly on development of these lands and can purchase these former parklands for as little as $5,000 per acre! Schumann Resorts stands to make incredible profits from the development and fee-simple sale of these lands.

It is not too late to save these trails from destruction, but time is limited! Schumann resorts has the exclusive right to purchase these former parklands for next to nothing, and this could happen in the very near future if the Nordic skiing community fails to take a stand to protect them. Once these Crown lands become the property of the resort, it will be almost impossible to stop the massive real estate development planned for these Nordic trails. Up to 30 kilometres of trails could be lost forever.

If you have ever cross country skied at Silver Star or Sovereign Lake, you already know what an amazing trail system it is. It would be such a shame to see so much of this world-class trail system sacrificed to condominium development, all for the sake of short-term real estate profits. To stop the madness, it will likely take a concerted effort of the international Nordic skiing community to send a strong message to the resort, the Province, and the Regional District that this is unacceptable. There has been little or no public consultation on this matter, and perhaps most importantly, the nordic skiing community has not been consulted.

Whether you are a recreational skier, a world-class competitive skier, masters or junior racer, biathlete, sitskier, coach, or Nordic instructor, as part of the Nordic skiing community, you can play an important role in preserving these trails for future generations of Nordic skiers by forwarding this email to members of your ski club, race team, or anyone who enjoys cross country skiing. Please sign the petition and encourage your fellow skiers to do the same. You can also inform members of your ski club about the threats to the trail system by emailing the attached information sheet, or by printing it out and distributing it to your club members.

You can also navigate to the petition by visiting the petitions page  at www.savesilverstarpark.org

Thank you in advance for your support in this effort to preserve the Sovereign Lake / Silver Star Nordic Trail System.

For more info visit www.savesilverstarpark.org