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Kelowna Snowmobile Club
The Kelowna Snowmobile Club would like to share with you, some of the long history of the area and the club’s presence. The Graystokes has been a favorite riding area for many Okanagan snowmobilers and has become synonymous for its great family riding. It was given a recreation area status in the 70’s and has since become a park. We are very proud of this place we call home.
Snowmobiling became popular in the Graystokes in the mid 60′s. In 1968 the Kelowna Snowmobile Club was incorporated. Lemmon, Horning, Spall, Chapman and Graf were among notable names in Kelowna that formed the original board of directors. These founders set a direction that would promote the sport of snowmobiling teaching safety, stewardship and a code of conduct. As a result, snowmobiling has become the predominant use during the winters in the Graystokes. In those early years, an outing that got you successfully to the chalet, the start of the Graystokes and the Thompson Plateau, would have been a good days ride. Today is very different, and a good days ride might just take you to Big White Ski Resort for a nice lunch, perhaps into the Galloping Hills in the Christian Valley or simply touring your favorite loop and meeting new friends during lunch at one of the chalets.
The sport of snowmobiling is growing all over Canada and the US . We as a club work to improve our sport and as a spin-off, there is a substantial economic impact in our local business community that effect their revenues in a positive way. Our sport as well, generates winter tourism visitations that benefit our community. The number of people who directly benefit from our club’s efforts is numerous, some 500 members. The average “member” snowmobilers in a club are usually less than 10 % of those who reside and ride in the immediate area. This holds true in most communities. Using this factor, there are 6500 additional local snowmobilers enjoying groomed, and safe trails. Working in conjunction with Tourism BC we have entered into an agreement that allows us to collect trail user fees that will help us further improve our trail safety and enhancement programs.
For the Kelowna area there are numerous friendships that have lasted through the years, people working together toward a common goal to improve the safety and quality of this winter recreation. In 1969 the club built its first cabin near the junction of Graystokes and, then called, Moore Mountain access roads. This cabin along with 5 other officially registered cabins, have been maintained by the club and in the interests of safety they are kept open as public emergency shelters. The club today maintains six cabins and is seeking placement of an additional near Beaver Lake to the northwest of the Graystoke riding area. On the west side of the lake, the club has the use of three additional cabins at Espron Lake.
Grooming in the beginning was probably the brainchild of farm ingenuity that put a number of angle iron cutters on two 2X4′s and pulled this rudimentary implement behind their snowmobile. Pretty soon more of these were made and grooming was a little closer to a reality. The club, later bought a twin track machine (then a second) that could actually pull a steel framed grooming implement that would groom a three-foot trail. This has evolved into the professional trail grooming equipment that we use to groom the trails with today. Our club operates two grooming machines and maintains them in good repair. The Kelowna Snowmobile Club provides an enhanced recreational experience both for its members and the general public with the highest regard for safety and the environment. Our club also strives to provide groomed trails for the safety and enjoyment of snowmobilers visiting the Graystokes area.
Trail development took place over the years and has given snowmobilers confidence to venture out on loops and travel-ways without fear of getting lost. Trail marking and development of maps as well have helped people find their way and makes the area a safer through easier navigation. In earlier years it was quite common for members to venture out in efforts to rescue people lost or broken down. Good trail marking and better equipment have reduced the instance of search and rescue incidents by about 70%. The club has trained several Snowmobile Patrol people. Some of which have taken first aid training and injury transporting. Over time trained personnel have moved away, and efforts are being made to train more volunteers in the future. These people help teach safety and most are ready to help with search and rescue when needed.
Our club membership supports the management agreements for surrounding areas and the Park Use Permit now in place for the Greystokes and the new permit for Myra Bellevue as being very important to our snowmobile area and our club’s future. The club maintains and manages a trail network and two Cabins in the areas of McCulloch Lake, Idabel and Myra Canyon.
Volunteers are the very fabric of this club and really have been the corner stones that have built this club into what it is today. Volunteers, working together are what keeps this sport affordable for the average snowmobiler. As well as being a very adventurous outdoor experience, snowmobiling has another side, family participation that is healthy for the social well being of people both young and young at heart within our community.
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