Pictures of some of the campsites around the Johnson Lake trail. The Lakes Economic Development Association (LEDA) received a $680

Pictures of some of the campsites around the Johnson Lake trail. The Lakes Economic Development Association (LEDA) received a $680

Looping trail around Johnson Lake is finished

Heavily funded hiking trail off of Highway 35 has been completed according to the Lakes Economic Development Association.

The Burns Lake South trail or Johnson Lake Trail has been completed and utilized, according to Lakes Economic Development Association’s (LEDA) economic development officer, Cindy Shelford.

In 2009, LEDA initiated a project with the Recreation Sites and Trails B.C. branch of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources of a proposed trail off of Hwy. 35, near the Omineca Ski Club trails.

“Construction of the trail is complete and it is being utilized for hiking,biking and camping,” Shelford said.

Support and funding for this project was provided by the Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) on behalf of the federal government’s Community Adjustment Fund.

The Community Adjustment Fund was provided by NDIT in Central and Northern B.C. through a $30 million funding delivery contract with the federal government to support economic stimulus in the region.

This funding saw $10 million in grant money go towards communities and non-profit organizations for projects and $20 million in five-year loans to businesses.

The program helped 18 communities, three regional districts and six First Nations communities fund 32 different projects.

The Lakes Economic Development Association estimated that the total cost of the Johnson Lake trail system project would be approximately $722,040, and in 2009 they received a $680,000 grant from northern development towards construction of the project.

The grant money from NDIT has been completely spent on the construction of the eight kilometres of trail and related trail amenities, such as picnic tables.

Recreation Sites and Trails B.C. (RSTBC) who worked with LEDA on this project to provide appropriate authorizations, direction and standards for construction has yet to receive a final construction report and management plan for the long-term maintenance from LEDA, and until that happens RSTBC cannot work towards the final referrals and designation of the site and associated trails.

Any maintenance work being done right now on the trails is being done on a volunteer basis.

Shelford says that this is one of many trails that will help bring people to the area.

“Having all these trail networks in our area enhances the marketability of the region,” Shelford said.

Shelford doesn’t have the exact number of jobs created by the project, but says that the jobs went to locals.

“All the workers [for construction of the trail] were local Burns Lakers, and approximately 50 per cent were First Nations,” Shelford said.