Kicking Horse Rafting Access Initiative gets Core Funding Print Article Font Size
This week, the B.C. government announced it is distributing $10.1 million in new BC Rural Dividend grants to 90 local governments, with Golden to receive $100,000 toward a further phase of design and approval seeking with the goal of re-introducing commercial river-rafting to the lower Kicking Horse River.

This latest funding announcement will help to advance the next stage of investigation into this potential long-term solution with a goal.

“Once again we are grateful to the Province in allocating further funding to this very important initiative for our community," says Golden’s mayor Ron Oszust. “The Town of Golden will continue to support the goal of re-introducing commercial rafting access to the lower Kicking Horse Canyon, it being both economically significant to our local tourism industry and an experiential touchstone for those visiting our community."

An added contribution of $25,000 toward this phase has been confirmed between the Town of Golden and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District through the Economic Opportunity Fund. The initiative awaits a necessary contribution confirmation from a third party grantor to then enable it to move forward.

The basis of the initiative is achieving an end goal of readiness to operationally modify a specific area of the river channel that is currently off limits to rafts for safety purposes. The modification would then allow navigation during specific water volumes so that the lower canyon trip could begin at the Kicking Horse Rest Area.

This second phase of the initiative has two distinct components – the first being the detailed engineering and design of the actual works required, and the second being the comprehensive consultation and approvals required to have the work authorized from federal and provincial agencies and First Nations governments.

The initiative will begin only upon confirmation of all funding contributors and will likely be at least a year in undertaking.

In 2016, the Canadian Pacific Railway closed access to the lower Kicking Horse River for the commercial white water rafting industry so they could meet Transport Canada’s 2014 Grade Crossing Regulations. The new regulations allow for the safe management of all federally regulated grade crossings. The result has been a significant impact to a major tourism and economic driver in the Golden area which attracts an estimated 40,000 visitors annually; 15,000 of which specifically raft the Lower Canyon.

In May, 2017, the Town of Golden released a report that investigated the feasibility of cost effective alternate access options to the Lower Canyon of the Kicking Horse River to support recreation and tourism access critical to the local river rafting industry in Golden.

The report was the result of consultation with rafting industry stakeholders, CP Rail, and provincial transportation engineers. It concluded that the most feasible and cost-effective option for further investigation would be the modification of the stream channel to smooth the gradient and reduce the degree of difficulty in navigating the Kicking Horse River between the Upper and Lower Canyon. Doing so would then eliminate the traditional need for crossing the Trans-Canada Highway and CP Rail tracks.

Media Contact:                                                
Jon Wilsgard, Chief Administrative Officer
Town of Golden
Phone: (250) 344-2271