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  • Writer's pictureVaagen Fibre Canada

Vaagen Partner Spotlight: Salmo Valley Trail Society

At Vaagen Fibre Canada (Vaagen), forging partnerships that add value to the nearby rural communities is critical to the growth and prosperity of our company.

For Vaagen, sustainable forest stewardship is at the core of all operations, and one key aspect of this is ensuring that our privately owned land is accessible to the local communities.

Our Midway mill is proud to hold a partnership with Salmo Valley Trail Society (SVTS), a local nonprofit committed to creating, enhancing, and preserving non-motorized sustainable recreational trails in the Salmo Valley.

“Vaagen owns over 25,000 acres of private land, rich in history and biodiversity. So many areas on our land provide a perfect topographic and wilderness experience that lends itself to trails. As we balance multiple objectives across our landscape, partnerships with groups such as the Salmo Valley Trail Society are critical to managing the land and providing opportunities for our residents and visitors” explains Dan Macmaster, Fibre Manager with Vaagen Fibre Canada.

Established in 2013, SVTS encourages volunteer trail-work participation, where passionate trail enthusiasts collaborate with land managers, volunteer groups, and other local stakeholders such as businesses, private landowners, environmental organizations, and community leaders, all to amplify the benefits of outdoor recreational activities. These activities include hiking and bike riding, which provide the community with an opportunity to visit and enjoy their local forest.

“The recreational trails provide our community a chance to connect with nature, get outside and be active, as well as a place to gather and celebrate our passion for the outdoors,” noted Melisa Boardman, secretary of STVS.

Since 2018, Vaagen and SVTS have collaborated on multiple projects, introducing successful trail systems to the community.

Blood, Sweat and Beers Trail Map

“Through our partnership with Vaagen, we now have access to excellent low-angle terrain for building modern, sustainable trails. We also love the open and honest communication we have with Vaagen. When we have an idea for a trail, we run it by them, and they'll let us know if it fits with their plans, or what other options might be available.,” explained Boardman.

The trail crew at SVTS has built first-class trails on private land managed by Vaagen, like Blood, Sweat and Beers, Hooch Creek, Green Goblin Trails, and most recently, Mr. Moose.

“We focus on building modern trails with good signage to reduce the risk to users and any potential liability. We also bring a conscientious group of people out to use and look after the property,” said Boardman.

As a small organization, SVTS actively hosts events for the community to visit the trails and enjoy the outdoors. Just recently, SVTS hosted a Halloween Hike, which took place at Mr. Moose and Green Goblin trails. Families were invited to participate in a costume parade/hike and a spooky scavenger hunt.

“We are a community organization first, and while most of our board loves mountain biking, we are focused on building trails that are accessible,” said Boardman. “The recreational trails not only help improve the health and well-being in our community, but also support our local economy through the creation of local seasonal jobs and an increase in tourism and property value."

Thank you to Melissa Boardman and the group of volunteers at SVTS for building awesome, sustainable recreational trails that encourage our local community members to enjoy our forests today, and for years to come.

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