British Columbia

Golden's whitewater rafting industry shut out by CP Rail

Golden and some of its biggest tourism operators are in a battle with Canadian Pacific after the company decided to close off an access point to the Kicking Horse River.

Rafting companies and CP Rail butt heads over access to Kicking Horse River near Golden, B.C.

Whitewater rafting on the Kicking Horse River attracts 40,000 visitors a year to Golden (Wet n' Wild Adventures)

The town of Golden and some of its biggest tourism operators are in a battle with Canadian Pacific after the rail company decided to close off an access point to the Kicking Horse River.

Whitewater rafting companies in the area have been crossing rail tracks to enter the popular lower canyon portion of the river for four decades, but now CP is calling the practice unsafe after it was flagged by a Transport Canada inspector last year.

CP Rail is now calling the access point used by whitewater rafters for 40 years unsafe after it was flagged by a Transport Canada inspector last summer. (Canadian Pacific)

"These rafting companies have been dangerously trespassing across railway tracks for a number of years potentially endangering their customers and guides," said CP spokeswoman Salem Woodrow. 

Mayor Ron Oszust says the move has infuriated a lot of people in Golden, which relies heavily on the tourism industry. 

"There's 30,000 or 40,000 people who come down that river every year. and these folks spend a lot of time and money in our community," said Oszust.

The mayor, the local MLA and MP have all met with CP, but so far the railway is not budging. Meanwhile, they continue working on the problem from a number of fronts and have another meeting planned for Thursday.

With files from Bob Keating

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