The Othello Tunnels are in rough shape following this week’s flooding and landslides.
Pictures posted on Twitter Nov. 17 by Tyler Ingram show a section of the popular tourist destination covered by water and debris, with massively heavy retaining blocks knocked loose.
The damage could keep the tunnels closed for a while. While Othello was open this past summer, concerns about geological instability previously had it shut down for over a year, from March 2020 until it re-opened in June 2021.
The closure had been caused by rock falls and landslides, described by BC Parks as “ongoing extreme hazards.”
“Oh no!” said Barbara Levesque, responding to Ingram’s tweet. “We were just there in September – lots of new restoration work had been done.”
“The Othello Tunnels have withstood 107 years of heavy train traffic, millions of people’s foot traffic, torrential rains, freezing winters and frozen water and ice expansion,” added Jarod McCullough. “This destruction is testament to how powerful this recent #BCStorm was.”
Opened May 15, 1986 the 159 hectare park features five tunnels that were built in 1914 to accommodate the now-decommissioned Kettle Valley Railway.
Othello Tunnels is annually one of the top-10 most visited BC Parks.