With the east-west KVR connection complete, and returning soldier’s from WWI settling in the south Okanagan, the rationale for constructing what would be the KVR’s second major branch line from Penticton to Osoyoos was set. The development of the railway, together with the Okanagan River Channel and irrigation infrastructure was essential to the settlement of the South Okanagan. The “South Spur”, as it’s called, also takes you through some of the most iconic landmarks in the Okanagan: Nʕaylintn (Pronounced: Ny-lin-tin), formerly McIntyre Bluff), Vaseux Lake, as well as connecting the communities of Kaleden, Okanagan Falls, Oliver and Osoyoos. The last spike of the South Spur was driven in on December 28, 1944 at Osoyoos by local businessman, George Fraser. The South Spur operated for 33 years, moving people, supplies, and produce up and down the South Okanagan. The last time the train would pull into Osoyoos was in 1977, with the rails being removed in the late 70’s and early 80’s.
Presently, only small portions of the South Spur have been opened up to the public or have had major improvements. Penticton to Okanagan Falls follows the west shore of Skaha Lake through Kaleden. This 13km of trail is open for public use with the southernmost 4km recently resurfaced and another 3km planned for improvement in 2016.
Okanagan Falls south to Osoyoos is presently in the development planning stage and the RDOS is working with numerous parties to ensure the trail will be safe for users while considering adjacent land uses, environmental and wildlife habitat values. The development planning process will be completed in 2016 and will provide priorities, a phased plan and construction estimates. Construction of the trail will occur as funding and approvals permit. In 2016, the detailed construction planning of a 3km section of trail from Osoyoos Lake to Deadman Lake will begin with construction completion scheduled for summer 2017. The completion of the South Spur will open up exciting possibilities to connect to trails currently being developed as far north as Vernon, with the goal of being able to travel the whole of the Okanagan Valley along dedicated trails.