New mountain biking trails in the works

Burns Lake Mountain Biking Association plans to build 6.5 kilometres of trails this year.

The Burns Lake Mountain Biking Association (BLMBA) is currently working to build 6.5 kilometres of trails this year. This will include a 5-km connection between Razorback to When Pigs Fly, and a 1.5-km connection between the lower section of Razorback to the bottom of Charlotte’s Web, located at Boer Mountain.

The estimated cost for the 6.5 kilometres of trails is $85,000. A large part of that sum, $75,000, will come from the Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund Society (NKDF), a grant-making agency that sponsors community stability projects in North West British Columbia.

“NKDF has supported our trails before, but not to this extent,” said BLMBA’s president Guy Epkens-Shaffer.

Members of BLMBA have contributed $5,000 for the trails, and the remaining $5,000 is expected to come from Recreation Sites and Trails B.C.

Over the past 12 months, BLMBA members have been busy maintaining and adding to an already impressive system of trails in the Bike Park and the Recreational Area. While construction was delayed for the period over the summer due to forest fire danger, a number of trails were completed. In 2013, the mountain biking association completed a three-year plan to build an 18-km trail called Razorback. The single-track trail extends from the bike park parking lot to the top of Boer Mountain.

Another three-year plan is in the works of BLMBA, this time to build a trail on the west side of Boer Mountain. The new 9-km trail will start at the top of Boer Mountain and back down to Bike Park. The trail won’t connect to any other trails until it joins up with Pork-U-Pine, a trail in the west end of bike park.

“When the new 9-km west side trail is built, it will be an intermediate trail, much like its mirror on the east side – Razorback,” said Epkens-Shaffer. “At this point, the plan is to have two superstructures on the trail – each approximately 60 feet in length.”

Machine construction of six kilometres of the nine-km trail is planned for 2015, with the final three kilometres to be built in 2016. Cost is estimated at $13,000 per km, totalling $78,000 in 2015 and $40,000 in 2016. Epkens-Shaffer said the association still haven’t figured out where the funding for 2015 and 2016 will come from to build the new trail.

The association is also considering applying to host the Banff Mountain Film Festival, an event that brings internationally-acclaimed mountain biking films and speakers. This would be Burns Lake’s first time hosting the event. Epkens-Shaffer said the association will apply right away and expect to host the festival in 2016.

The association’s next planning meeting will take place on Nov. 16 at Lakes District Secondary School at 1 p.m. and is opened to the public.