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The South Okanagan Trails Alliance (SOTA) is building and maintaining trails with increased efficiency this fall with the help of some new, powerful equipment. A recipient of an FMCBC Member Club Grant earlier this year, SOTA put the funds towards the purchase of two Milwaukee cordless tool batteries.

“The batteries work perfectly,” said Andrew Drouin, founder and director of SOTA. “The mobility that it has provided us in clearing deadfall with our 12” blade Milwaukee Sawsall shines in portability as well as during those parts of the season where we’re not allowed to use gas-powered chainsaws in the forest due to forest fire potential.”

The batteries allow trail crews to be almost as productive as with gas-powered chainsaws, and have the added benefit of being very lightweight. SOTA has an impressive list of trail projects, completed, underway and planned. They’ve been especially active lately in Skaha Provincial Park, repairing eroded sections of bluff trails, and in the Carmi-Beaverdell area, where they are working on improvements to the trail for hikers and mountain bikers alike. Judging by their newsletter, there’s plenty going on in the trails community in the South Okanagan, with new trails and improvements being made every month.

As for the tools themselves, Andrew has these words of advice for fellow clubs and trails associations: “I can strongly recommend that clubs invest in the Milwaukee Fuel series of brushless motor-driven cordless power tools. The batteries for these units are expensive, but very much worth it.”

To learn more about the fantastic work of SOTA and trails in the South Okanagan region, check out their website, Facebook page and Twitter feed. And if you’re in the area this October, the FMCBC is hosting our first-ever regional committee meeting in Kelowna on Saturday, October 17. Please contact Executive Director Jodi Appleton for more info if you’re interested in attending.