There will be a meeting on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 at 7 pm at Chances Casino in Castlegar to organize an initiative to restore, maintain, preserve and protect the historic Dewdney Trail.  Many sections of the trail away from the highways could be preserved and made available as walking and hiking trails — yet another attraction for tourists.

The project coincides with the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Dewdney Trail that originated in Hope and went to the Similkameen and then through the Kootenays to Wild Horse Creek (near today`s Cranbrook) in the summer of 1865.

edgar dewdney with party inspecting  betw trail and rossland 001

Engineer Edgar Dewdney (fifth from right) in a section of the Dewdney Trail between Rossland and Trail.  Family photo.

It was the first transportation route established across southern B.C.   At a time when the United States was in an expansionary mode, the Dewdney Trail  became a symbol of Britain`s, and then Canada`s, commitment to sovereignty over British Columbia, particularly the southern Interior from Hope through the Kootenays.

The 720-kilometer Dewdney Trail is named after Edgar Dewdney, a civil engineer who arrived in Victoria from Devonshire in May 1859.  A friendly giant at 6 feet, 4 inches in height, he stood out in any crowd as a memorable figure.   He blazed a trail from Hope to newly-discovered goldfields in the Similkameen, and later won contracts to extend the trail to gold diggings at Wild Horse Creek..

edgar sitting

Edgar Dewdney as a young, trail-building civil engineer.

Today, Highway 3 from Hope to Cranbrook largely follows the Dewdney Trail.  There is a well-maintained Dewdney Trail hiking section in Manning Park, and a short section in the Rossland South Belt that is great for hiking.   As well, a long section from Paterson to Christina Lake is in good shape, except for a few areas that are eroded due to heavy use by mountain bikes, while the rest of that section just needs brushing and windfalls cut.   Other repairs are needed on the Santa Rosa section damaged by construction of a power line, as well as logging damage on the Christina Lake section.

The May 28, 2015 issue of the West Kootenay Advertiser newspaper as a story about the June 16th meeting at the following link:  http://issuu.com/blackpress/docs/i20150528050424775?mobile=true

For further information, contact Richie Mann at 250 362-9465 or richiemann11@gmail.com, or Graham Jones at 250 362-9966 or jumbuck65@yahoo.ca.

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