British Columbia Celebrates Reopening of Historic Trestle

Posted 05/09/12 by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in America's Trails

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In the Spring/Summer 2012 edition of Rails to Trailsmagazine, we asked readers to tell us about their favorite bridge or trestle on a rail-trail.

It was great to hear from so many rail-trail fans across the country, telling wonderful stories about the High Trestle Trail in Iowa, the Walkway Over the Hudson in New York, and the Salisbury Viaduct Trestle along the Great Allegheny Passage in Pennsylvania, to name a few.

But it was especially pleasing to hear from our rail-trail friends north of the border, who told us about the recent reopening of an historical trestle that now connects the two formally separated sections of the Cowichan Valley Trail through the spectacular forests and former settlement communities on Southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

The Kinsol Trestle was built in the early part of the 20th century, and from 1920 to 1979 carried an estimated five billion board feet of timber from forests around Lake Cowichan to ports and markets nearby.

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Distinguished by a seven -degree curve over a low-level Howe truss (named after its inventor, William Howe, from Spencer, Mass., who patented his truss design in 1840), the Kinsol Trestle is a monster at more than 145-feet tall and more than 600-feet long.

Its restoration was driven by a strong and committed local trail community, and residents eager to see an important part of the area's pioneering history survive.

The trestle was officially opened on July 28 of last year, with several hundred eager hikers serenaded across the trestle by a band of bagpipers. The new bridge retains 60 percent of its historical timber.

For more information about the Kinsol Trestle, as well as a library of wonderful photos, visit

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