Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sweetsingletrack.ca - Okanagan Trail Guide by Andrew Drouin of Penticton BC

Andrew Drouin with his sweetsingletrack.ca trail guide
I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Andrew Drouin, author of the SweetSingletrack.ca online + print edition trail-guide.  This publication features over one hundred non-motorized recreational trails encompassing much of the South Okanagan.  Andrew has over 20 years of experience exploring the valley and was motivated to compile a useful descriptor of the area’s recreation trails.

Each chapter of SweetSingletrack.ca is presented with a written description of the trail, along with details on cell-phone reception, potable water-access and maps - which Andrew created by carrying a GPS recorder in his back-pack over a period of several years.

The guidebook retails for $25 and provides both the physical print edition and three years of free access to the frequently-updated online edition.  This allows you to download Google Earth and GPS tracks for your GPS device or smartphone.

Though Andrew's employment is that of a computer technician, he confesses that his great love is the outdoors, where he thrives on hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and kayaking.

Andrew riding the trails on horseback
Improving and maintaining trails is very important to Andrew, which is why he and Rowena Tansley originally created the Penticton and Area CyclingAssociation (PACA) in 2008.  Andrew’s vision grew to advocate awareness for all avenues of trail use, including hiking, biking, equestrian and an environment for naturalists.  He was president of the bike club for three years, then it's trail manager for the following year.  The new president of PACA leaned toward bike racing, so Andrew branched off and started the SouthOkanagan Trail Alliance (SOTA): a trail-group dedicated to maintaining back-country trails, bridges and signage. 

As if this guy isn't already doing enough for our trails, he is also on a government committee (the KVR Working Group) dedicated to developing an equitable solution to motor vehicle traffic on the KVR.  I had no idea there was so much controversy surrounding this issue but it makes sense to me to keep motor vehicles off certain sections of the KVR.

Andrew is always discovering, creating and maintaining new trails - which are added to the companion website in ten new installments per year.  Each January, the SweetSingletrack.ca  print edition grows through reprints / updates of this new information. Partial profits from the sales go towards trail maintenance and signage.

Andrew's words, taken from the back of the guidebook, sum up his kinship with the outdoors.

"In using this guidebook, I ask that you act as stewards of the land.  Every effort you make in preserving and nurturing the environment leaves a legacy to be enjoyed by future generations"

Books can be purchased at Tourist Information Centers throughout the Valley or any of the following locations:

The Bench coffee shop - Penticton
Peach City Runners - Penticton
Both Downtown Book Stores - Penticton
The Bike Barn - Penticton
Freedom Bike Shop - Penticton
Dr. Hitch - Penticton
Wright's Beach Campground - Penticton
Mosaic Books - Kelowna

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