Burns Lake top three in national bucket list

Local mountain biking scene takes national stage in outdoor magazine.

Robin Esrock salutes the hills after an afternoon of riding on Boer Mountain with Burns Lake’s Kevin Derksen. Canadian travel and adventure author Esrock placed Burns Lake mountain biking number three in a list of 25 all-time Canadian must-do experiences in this months Explore magazine.

Burns Lake mountain biking is good, we all know that.

But one of the top three things to do in Canada?

That’s what Explore Magazine recently reported in their Fall 2013 issue list of the 25 essential outdoor adventures, the ‘All-Canadian Bucket List’.

The magazine, which hit stands across Canada a couple of weeks ago, commissioned Canadian travel and adventure writer Robin Esrock to condense the findings of his forthcoming book, ‘The Great Canadian Bucket List’, into magazine format.

“I look for the different and the unusual, the stuff you can’t do anywhere else,” Esrock said.

“British Columbia is one of the best places in the world to mountain bike, and looking around BC, I was drawn to the characters, quality and passion of the biking community around Burns Lake.”

Burns Lake has no shortage of passion or characters who carry that passion.

The signature Burns Lake trail, When Pigs Fly, was named for initial resistance local promoters of the area’s potential received when Burns Lake mountain biking was little more than a vision for a handful of locals.

Kevin Derksen, Burns Lake Mountain Biking Association president, remembers an incident when a naysayer suggested a bike park in Burns Lake would never happen.

Derksen was in a Prince George bike shop getting some work done on his bike.

“I was speaking with the bike mechanic about the plan for Gravity Logic of Whistler coming to build trails in Burns Lake,” Derksen recounted, “and one of the other customers in ear shot made the statement that he would believe that ‘when pigs fly’.”

The exposure for Burns Lake is always welcome, Derksen added.

“To be included amongst some iconic names in outdoor adventure, like the trans Rockies, and the west coast trail, really shows the position Burns Lake is being placed in the mountain biking tourism industry,” he said.

Now that Boer Mountain trails are receiving the kind of attention normally reserved for larger destinations like Whistler, attention is turning to Burns Lake to figure out how locals did so much, so quickly.

During a recent forum in Burns Lake held by a team from the Northern B.C. Mountain Bike Tourism Initiative – a group looking to build on and consolidate the success of local biking areas across the north – attendees heard that trail developers in Prince George are scratching their heads to figure out the Burns Lake secret.

While the Burns Lake secret may be a tough nut to crack to those who don’t live here, what’s no secret to anyone are the regular streams of traffic from Prince George and Smithers to Burns Lake on summer weekends to take advantage of what Burns Lake has developed.

None of this is a surprise to Esrock, whose travels would be the envy of anyone with even just a hint of wanderlust.

“Canadians have little appreciation for the country’s bounty of true bucket-list experiences, the destinations and activities you simply can’t do anywhere else in the world,” Esrock said. “I’ve been to 109 countries now, so I knew exactly what I was looking for. Hopefully the book will shine a spotlight on just how inspiring, weird and wonderful Canada can be.”


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