The multi-year project, started in 2017, will eventually see 50 kilometres of trails built through the forest from the top of Mount Abriel to the lake shore. The network will be attractive and accessible to beginners, families, people with diverse abilities, and expert mountain bikers.
It is planned to be a world-class destination, that’s been the desire and intent from the start, to be an attraction for the area that will help support the local economy. The trail network will also complement other trail projects in the region bringing the Kootenays to the forefront of mountain bike tourism.
Justin Truelove, Program Coordinator and Trail Specialist for the International Mountain Biking Association’s Canadian offices was there from Guelph Ontario for a site visit to see what has transpired since he was here last year. His involvement is a result of an invitation to collaborate.
“Janis and Shon reached out to our organization for help with the conceptual masterplan design of the trail network that is being built as we speak.,” said Truelove. That was three years ago. Representatives from IMBA visited the proposed site in 2015 “running through the woods bush-whacking with just concepts in our mind as what ‘should’ happen. To come back and see what they have put in the ground so far is fantastic. It’s awesome trails, great experiences and to know where they are going to go is a real big game changer for Nakusp.”
He cites the thirty designated recreation sites already in place for camping, the lake access for paddle-in, paddle-out, and the implementation of adaptive and accessible trails for users with a variety of abilities. When asked if people outside of Nakusp knew about Mt. Abriel, Truelove answered with an emphatic “yes! The Columbia Basin Trust has been a very active funder in this project and they know what the potential is. The region is very excited; Revelstoke, New Denver, Slocan, Castlegar, Rossland, Fernie, they all know what’s going on. And in the mountain bike world because the community as vast as it is is so intertwined and connected, mountain bikers are pretty ‘stoked’ with what’s going on here. This project is the biggest one going on in Canada.”
He quantifies this by saying that outside of resort operations and national parks with large-scale trail crews, for a community-based project, there are 17 paid staff on a regular full-time basis, they are building fifty-plus kilometres of trails as the end result. This will all be managed and maintained by members of the community. It is going to make Nakusp a real destnation.
“The way our world works right now with social media, tourism and word of mouth do a great job already. The Pinkbike website sees 25,000,000 clicks a day on a slow day so you can better believe that once this opens, we get some really cool adaptive, and downhill experiential articles and photos. 25,000,000 people a day are going to see that and all of a sudden, Nakusp is on the map.”