Project partners behind the efforts to install a new composting toilet at Silver Springs, near Fernie. Left-right: Area B director Stan Doehle, Ian Stokie who designed built and installed the facility, Jikke Gyorki of Tourism Fernie, Neve Richards and Reese Pagnucco of AmbassadorWILD, Dave Richards of the Sustainable Tourism Project, Krista Turcasso of the Columbia Basin Trust, Sika Paradis of Teck, Chad Hughes of the Elk River Alliance, Aaron Canuel of Recreation Sites and Trails BC, Jaime David of the RDEK, and Dan Savage of the Sustainable Tourism Project. (Image courtesy of Tourism Fernie)

Project partners behind the efforts to install a new composting toilet at Silver Springs, near Fernie. Left-right: Area B director Stan Doehle, Ian Stokie who designed built and installed the facility, Jikke Gyorki of Tourism Fernie, Neve Richards and Reese Pagnucco of AmbassadorWILD, Dave Richards of the Sustainable Tourism Project, Krista Turcasso of the Columbia Basin Trust, Sika Paradis of Teck, Chad Hughes of the Elk River Alliance, Aaron Canuel of Recreation Sites and Trails BC, Jaime David of the RDEK, and Dan Savage of the Sustainable Tourism Project. (Image courtesy of Tourism Fernie)

New amenities installed at popular Fernie area hike

A composting toilet has been added at Silver Springs

A popular tourism draw near Fernie has been given an upgrade, with a new commode installed at Silver Springs in the last few weeks.

Silver Springs is a well-used attraction, drawing in walkers and swimmers over summer months for the cool blue waters and picturesque hiking, but with no toilet facilities it was overflowing in more ways than one.

“Its a very popular cliff jumping and swimming area… There’s no amenities, and yet in peak hot summer days there’s 200-300 people up there,” said Tourism Fernie executive director, Jikke Gyorki. “There was no garbage facilities, no nothing.”

But thanks to a new composting toilet installed just in time for summer 2022, trail users can expect to encounter less toilet tissue in the back country.

The new toilet was installed as part of the Regional District of East Kootenay’s (RDEK) Area A Sustainable Tourism Project, under which locals were canvassed for sustainable priorities, and Silver Springs came in as a major point of contention given its popularity.

“Under the project, residents highlighted how important Silver Springs is to them, and that it needs to be better managed and maintained,” said Gyorki.

Also under the project, team members from the AmbassadorWILD program will be up at Silver Springs twice a week to clean up and educate visitors, and their presence is sorely needed.

“They get a garbage bag full of garbage there every time they go.”

The new facility was designed to be a composting toilet, with minimal maintenance besides regular cleaning of the toilet shed itself. It doesn’t need to be pumped out, and there’s signage educating users on how to use it the right way.

And use it they have.

“People have been using it and using it well,” said Gyorki.

The new toilet was paid for by Recreation Sites and Trails BC, and a helicopter was needed to ferry the parts in and install it.

The project was funded by RDEK Area A, Teck, Columbia Basin Trust, Recreation Sites and Trails BC, and Tourism Fernie.

There will be more Sustainable Tourism initiatives to come with Silver Springs in the near future in a bid to improve the sustainability of the trail and swimming area.

READ MORE: Pilot program launched to care for Fernie’s tourist attractions



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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