Golden Westbench Trail
Three years after the initial bid, and many more in the planning, the Province of BC has recently approved the Golden Snowmobile Trail Society’s (GSTS) proposal for the West Bench Trail. The winter-use motorized access trail will stretch for 39 kilometres along the west side of the Columbia Valley, resulting in a continuous link between the Gorman Lake and Quartz Creek trailheads.
The trail infrastructure will consist primarily of existing Forest Service Roads, including deactivated roads, but will also be composed to a lesser degree of cutblocks and a small amount of freshly cut swatch. To bridges will need to be installed to connect the trail over Wiseman Creek and another smaller drainage closer to Quartz. One bridge that formerly spanned the Sullivan drainage along the nearby Bush River Forest Service Road will be recommissioned for this purpose.
The new trail represents a dramatic increase in the amount of groomed, non-mountainous riding available, which something that the Golden area has had previously in short supply. Mountain sledders will now have a destination in Golden that they can share with their families, and which can be safely enjoyed by less experienced riders. For the hardcore sledder, the Society has hope that eventually the trail will be used as part of a network to access the Lang and Cirque snowmobile areas directly from the valley, as an alternate to using the high passes during whiteout conditions.
The trail will also be of great benefit to mountain sledders wanting to ride Quartz Creek at times when the highway is closed due to westbound traffic, which is not an uncommon circumstance during the winter season, but providing an alternate route to the popular zone.
Although budgeting and a schedule are yet to be finalized, the GSTS expects the trail to be open and at least semi-regularly groomed throughout the 2012/13 riding season. Check out the Tourism Golden Snowmobile Trails Guide for more information, available at local sled shops, accommodators and online.
More Info from the Golden Snowmobile Club