The Ashcroft Slough Society recognizes and is respectful that it lies on the traditional territory
of the Nlaka'pamux, St'át'imc and Secwépemc people.
"The purpose of the Society is to work with stakeholders having an interest, whether it be recreational, cultural, social, artistic, ecological, geological, spiritual, historical or economical, in obtaining safe and legal pedestrian access to the area known as the Ashcroft Slough and sharing the space with all stakeholders."
(from the Ashcroft Slough Society Constitution)
"The Slough Area"
(3.5km north east of Ashcroft BC)
This Image is from Google Earth. Please note that Barnes Creek is labeled in the wrong location by google. The correct location is to the far right where Thompson River is Labelled.
"Ashcroft Slough #1" by Marina Papais
About the Ashcroft Slough
This unique, beautiful, and ecologically diverse area is located about 3.5km north east of the township of Ashcroft in south central BC.
Until recently, access to the Slough was from Evan's Road north east of the Village of Ashcroft, on the east side of the Thompson River. This amazing and much loved area has been frequented by nature lovers of all kinds since before Ashcroft and the railways existed, and by First Nations for centuries before.
What is happening now
In 1999 the land adjacent to the slough was "quietly purchased" and in 2008 work began on the creation of an "inland Port" called The Ashcroft Terminal, to service CN and CP. Access to the slough was from Evan's road, a public road that cut through private property. Naturally, with construction in full swing, access from those access trails has been eliminated. Safe alternative access, however, has not been provided.
The volume of water in the Thompson at the end of June 2020. Note how high the water is on the bridge pillars, and remember this when you watch the video on the user group page.
"First Light" by Marina Papais and Hanna Franes
Community Working Group
In 2020 The Ashcroft Terminal asked for volunteers to be part of a Community Working Group to look at ways to give back something to the community for having taken away access to the slough. The official position of the Terminal has been that access has "never been legal", so alternative access is not something they have to provide...we respectfully and strongly disagree. (see Society position below)
Fourteen people were selected to sit on the CWG panel; three towns people and eleven other individuals, most with associations to the Terminal. Our small but strong group of community members have made it clear to the CWG that safe access to the slough is what our citizens want, and that access is of utmost importance and must be considered.
"Spring time at the slough" by Marina Papais and Daniel Collett
Ashcroft Slough Society Position
The Evan's roadway has been historically used to not only access the slough, but also the other ranches and homesteads further up river. This "public road through private land" has been used for access since it was constructed; before even the railways existed. It is our position that since public access has been removed by the Ashcroft Terminal, AT, that it is only right that they provide another.
"Creating a safe legal pedestrian crossing or underpass would mitigate risk for all parties. Of course access needs to be safe. If no completely safe way is provided, then people will naturally make riskier decisions to gain access. The number of local people wanting access to the Slough is now over 800." ( CN now maintains that they consider underpasses crossings)
Daniel Collett (educator and A.S.S. member)
The access we propose would start near the CN train bridge with an access tunnel (culvert), or a set of stairs to a landing, and a safe legal pedestrian crossing. The location just east of the CN bridge is not only outside of the AT land but is also a perfect location for pedestrians to see on coming trains in both directions. an easement would have to be created wherever the trail crosses into AT property, or the river side properties below the CN tracks could be given, or sold, to the Village or the A.S.S., since they will not be used for anything else.
Access suggested by the AT would be from under the CN train bridge below the high water mark, thereby taking any responsibility away from AT. There has also been the suggestion that AT could provide a parking area for that access. There are a few problems with AT's idea: the number one problem being the danger and difficulty that would severely limit access to only fit athletic people. This idea would also eliminate access for three months during spring run-off. (since this post, CN has also indicated that "walking on land under train bridges is illegal")
The Ashcroft Slough in spring.
CN's Crossing Policy
CN has a program in place to de-commission legal crossings in small towns offering money to do so. The narrative they use is that it is for the safety and protection of people crossing the tracks, but since people will naturally cross the tracks anyway, to access the river or other places, it is reasonable to suggest that the narrative is really about liability not safety.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
If you are one of the people who have used the slough for recreation and want to be able to continue having safe access , or if you simply see the worth in supporting our cause, please consider joining the Ashcroft Slough Society on our Membership page! There is a $5 annual fee (free for children under 16).
You can also help by simply staying engaged! Keep talking about the issue with your friends, write letters to the Ashcroft Terminal or the Journal, or post about it on facebook! We need to let AT know that the public cares about this issue.
Donations can also be made payable by cheque to the Ashcroft Slough Society or by e-transfer on our Donations page... No tax receipts available until after we have been a society for a full year.