Mr. Speaker, this year I again rode my bicycle through South Okanagan—West Kootenay at the end of August. I took a day longer than last year, but I did cover more territory, about 519 kilometres in all. It was hot and smoky, but I enjoyed warm receptions and good conversation in cafes along the way. I was joined by keen cyclists on the rail trails that form most of the route: the beautiful Kettle Valley Rail Trail, from Big White down to Midway and from Naramata to Okanagan Falls and beyond; the newly resurfaced Kettle River Heritage Trail, east of Grand Forks; the Galena Trail along Slocan Lake; and the beautiful rail trail down the Slocan River.
These trails are significant economic drivers in small communities along the route. About 300,000 people use parts of the KVR every year. The trails are maintained by hard-working volunteer groups in those communities. Therefore, I call upon the government to support these groups and the work they do to support our rural economies.