Lakes District News file photo                                 The Burns Lake trails make a significant contribution to health cost savings as physical activity helps improve overall health and reduces the risk for chronic diseases, a recent UNBC study found.

Lakes District News file photo The Burns Lake trails make a significant contribution to health cost savings as physical activity helps improve overall health and reduces the risk for chronic diseases, a recent UNBC study found.

Economic impact of Burns Lake trails

UNBC has released a study conducted in Burns Lake earlier this year

“Active community, balanced lifestyles, time in nature, pride and sense of ownership” were a few of the terms used by UNBC students to describe the benefits of the Boer Mountain trails.

Last week, UNBC’s research methods in outdoor recreation and tourism class released the results of a study conducted earlier this year in Burns Lake. The study assessed the economic and social impact of mountain biking development in Burns Lake.

Among the findings are the direct economic benefits of the trails, including the opening of Burnt Bikes and the increased clientele for restaurants, grocery stores and hotels from visitors coming to the trails. However, the study does not present specific numbers on these economic benefits.

The largest economic contribution of the trail system are the expenditures associated with design, construction and maintenance of the trail network. Over the course of the development of the trails, the Burns Lake Mountain Biking Association (BLMBA) has received almost $2 million in both cash and in-kind donations from various stakeholders.

In addition, the trails make a significant contribution to health cost savings, as physical activity helps improve overall health and reduces the risk for chronic diseases. The annual medical cost savings are estimated at $1500 annually for those who exercise regularly, doubling that amount for those over the age of 65, according to the study.

This results in an estimation of total health care cost savings for BLMBA members of $147,375 each year. And given that the trail network serves many more community members, as well as tourists, this number could be significantly higher.

As part of the research, UNBC students conducted face-to-face interviews and an online survey with BLMBA members. One of the main ideas raised by locals was the notion of community pride.

“Many users and members are incredibly proud of the area that they created as a community,” says the study.

The trails also provide youth with the opportunity for cross-generational learning. Many of the youth who have been students in bike camps, are now taking on the roles of leading the programs and becoming mentors to other youth and children.

Furthermore, the trails are noted as being a key attractant for individuals to stay in the community. Tourists are also staying in Burns Lake because of the accessible camping near the recreation site.

“People are no longer passing through,” says the study.

Volunteers – the “beating heart” of the Burns Lake trails

The volunteer hours that have contributed to the building and maintenance of the trails at the Boer Mountain Recreation Site have played a critical role in its success, according to the UNBC study.

Since its inception, a total of almost 20,000 volunteer hours have been recorded for Burns Lake Mountain Biking Association (BLMBA) members, equating to a value just under of $300,000. Other organizations such as the Burns Lake Fire Attack crew have also donated a substantial amount of labour to the development of the trail network.

Study participants recognized how critical volunteering has been for the trails.

“The benefits were noted not just in the tangible result of building and maintaining the trails but perhaps more importantly in building pride, community cohesion, developing new friendships and a sense of ownership,” says the study. “Future maintenance and upkeep of the trail system will strongly depend on the continued support of these many volunteers.”

Guy Epkens-Shaffer, BLMBA president, said the UNBC research will assist the organization with grant applications since BLMBA will be able to present quantitative information to funding agencies and local governments.

BLMBABurns Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Questions around rail safety, firefighter safety, cleanup near the rail yards and tracks, whistle cessation, etc were raised during the RDBN meeting with CN. (File photo)
‘Lot of our concerns are still not being heard,’ say RDBN directors on CN’s response

Frustrated over lack of solutions, despite communicating their concerns to CN

Barbara Patrick. (Submitted/Lakes District News)
Former Burns Lake local to play the first Indigenous character in a Hallmark movie

Barbara Patrick, a former LDSS student takes a huge step for the Indigenous community

The Burns Lake RCMP is supportive of having a ticketing bylaw in place even though there would be limitations on what they could ticket on. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Burns Lake might be getting a ticketing bylaw

Will help extend RCMP’s authority to attend to noise complaints

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Kevin Bieksa during his days playing with the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo:
Bieksa to guest on free Canucks Alumni ‘Hot Stove’ on Zoom app

Former NHL player has become a game analyst on Sportsnet

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

More than 60 cm of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation near Anahim Lake in the Chilcotin since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Graham West photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Most Read