Friday, August 28, 2015

Unity Bridge Grand Opening

Over 100 people celebrated with the Kaslo Trailblazers Society (KTS) on Sunday, August 23, 2015 as the new Unity Bridge was officially opened. Donor flags from around the world decorated the bridge, representing 8 Canadian provinces, 3 USA states, and 14 different countries, making this truly a bridge that unifies both sides of the Kaslo River trail loop, and Kaslo with the World. 

Click to enlarge
Cutting the celebratory ribbon left to right were Kellie Knoll (Village of Kaslo), Linda Lafleur (Columbia Basin Trust), Aimee Watson (Regional District of Central Kootenay), and Val Koenig (President, KTS).
Click to enlarge
Major donors and volunteers were awarded plaques featuring a Unity Bridge photo by Anne Gray (all photos in this post courtesy Anne Gray).

In his speech to the audience, President Val Koenig gave a brief history of the Kaslo River Trail development. Following several "goat trails" and pre-built walking trails along the Kaslo River, in 2003 several Kaslo citizens worked on building trail and forming the Kaslo Trailblazers Society, established in 2005. This group had the vision to create a wheelchair accessible trail, a loop trail on both sides of Kaslo River, and two bridges spanning the river. In autumn 2007 the first "red" pedestrian bridge, now known as the Kaslo Trailblazers Bridge, was built for $149,000 across Kaslo River just below the old hydro-electric dam site.

Kaslo Trailblazers Bridge in winter
Following the 2008 economic recession, it took the KTS another 8 years to accumulate enough funds to build the Unity Bridge (almost -  we are still a little short!) -  a130 ft. single arch span, 100,000 pound bridge, following the same basic design as the first (this one is a 18' longer and a 2' arch vs a 4' arch), including the beautiful red colour.

Kaslo Unity Bridge in summer
Volunteers built both bridges!  In 2015, over 77 volunteers and local businesses contributed over 1500 hours to prepare and construct the bridge. Not including "in kind" donations, many additional hours were spent fundraising over $400,000 over the last 10 years to pay for materials and machine time. Its quite an accomplishment for our small village!

The Kaslo Trailblazers Society extend our gratitude and thanks to the over 160 KTS members, local businesses, donors, volunteers, contributors, Village of Kaslo work crew, and all others who helped to fulfill the original 2003 vision for trails in Kaslo.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Work party Saturday Aug 22

We are looking for some help to move concrete blocks to the Unity Bridge site, 9am this Saturday, Aug 22, meeting at the north side of the bridge.

This requires heavy lifting and carrying. Work gloves and close toed shoes recommended.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

5th St. Unity Bridge is now open

Kaslo Village crews finished grading the earth berms this morning, providing an easy ramp entry to the new 5th St Unity Bridge.

The barricades blocking use of the bridge have been removed and people can now cross the Kaslo River safely to complete the Kaslo River Trail Loop.

Kaslo's Unity Bridge  (click to enlarge)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Bear on Lettrari Loop trail

A black bear has been encountered along the Lettrari Loop section of the Kaslo River Trail this morning (also known as the south trail extension). This bear stood its ground and acted aggressively even after being whistled and shouted at, so it may have some food in the area. Please be cautious.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Unity Bridge sponsors are from...

FCC AgriSpirit Fund Saskatchewan
  • BC
  • Alberta
  • Saskatchewan
  • Manitoba
  • Ontario
  • New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia
  • Newfoundland
  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • Pennsylvania
  • Washington State
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Czech Republic
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Scotland
  • South Africa
  • Switzerland
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom

We are calling this the Unity Bridge because it has been built with support from numerous provinces, states and countries, and we wish to highlight what a small town can accomplish when it reaches out to the world.

We'd love to add your province, state, or country to the list! 

Bridge and post plaques are $150 and $500 respectively, but your donations of any amount are gratefully accepted.   Check out our Plaques page to learn more and see our plaques from around the world.

Updated Aug 5:  Hawaii and Minnesota added.  Keep 'em coming!
Updated Aug 6:  New Hampshire and Washington State added.  Woohoo!
Updated Aug 12:  Hello Austria!
Updated Aug 13:  Pennsylvania added.  That was our very first American sponsor!  How could we forget Pennsylvania?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Looking for help this Monday, August 3

We are looking for help removing concrete forming materials at the 5th St Unity Bridge this Monday, 8am.

Meet at the south side of the bridge, near the Village Shop, if you are able to lend a hand. Please bring a hammer, and wear work gloves.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Unity Bridge Grand Opening Sunday, August 23, 2 to 4 pm

The elves have been busy since the girders were put in place on July 2nd, and we are proud to announce the:

Unity Bridge Grand Opening on Sunday, August 23, 2 to 4 pm!

Click to enlarge (photo credit Anne Gray)

Please get your plaque wording to us by August 8  if you want a railing plaque ($150) or post plaque ($500) engraved in time for the opening.  

You can:
-  sponsor a plaque at the Kaslo Saturday Market,
-  email us the message and arrange to get payment to us,
-  send a cheque and your message to Box 1024, Kaslo BC, V0G 1M0.

We look forward to celebrating with you!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Kaslo Receives Its New Unity Bridge

The following article was submitted to the Valley Voice (July 16) and Pennywise (July 21).

photo credit Barney Gilmore
At 1 pm on July 2, 2015, history was made in Kaslo with the installation of the 5th Street Unity Bridge spanning the Kaslo River.

Steel girders 118’ long were swung into place by Gwill Crane Services, while spectators watched from the safety of Railroad Ave.  Rapid Span had manufactured the steel in two sections, after which it was trucked to Kaslo to be unloaded by Glen Settle and then bolted together to form a single span.

photo credit Barney Gilmore
Enthusiastic cheers, shouts and whistles greeted the hard working Kaslo Trailblazers Society team as the huge crane slowly settled the steel girders upon the concrete abutments designed by Pennco Engineering…..all within ¼” of the target placement lines.

After over 800 hours of volunteer work since early April, finally SUCCESS!   Now work continues to complete the wood superstructure, including a roof, in a similar design to the 2007 bridge constructed further upstream as part of the Kaslo River loop trail.

The Kaslo Trailblazers Society says a HUGE THANK YOU to all volunteers and supporters who have helped to make this project a success.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Staining resuming Friday and Monday

Sorry about the delay in staining today which occurred due to an insufficient amount of stain. Val says he now has lots, so staining will resume tomorrow (Friday) and again on Monday…..9-11am at the Village Shop yard.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Some help needed for staining bridge boards

We are in need of some help to stain boards for the new bridge for the next 3 days:

Wednesday, July 15 to Friday, July 17   9 am to 11am
Kaslo Village Shop (by the recycling depot)

Four people for each day will make the job very manageable, and the boards are not large. These are the last of pickets for the fence along the sides of the bridge.