By Korie Marshall
A multi-use, non-motorized trail network, just a few kilometers away, may be in McBride’s future.
McBride Council is providing a letter of support for the Robson Valley Mountain Bike Association’s application for a trail system on McBride Peak and Teare Mountain, three kilometers from the village. The association is also looking for support from the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George.
“It is very early at this stage. The reason we asked for a letter of support is to put it in the application package,” says Ingrid Stengler of the mountain bike association. “It’s gone to the ministry for approval, but that is a lengthy process, and it hasn’t even started.”
The association already received some support from the McBride Community Forest, the Regional District, and from the Omineca Beetle Action Coalition to do a feasibility study. Stengler says you don’t need a feasibility study for the application, but it helps to see the potential scope of a project.
“If it had come back saying ‘you’d be wasting a lot of money here,’ we obviously wouldn’t go ahead. But it came back really positive,” says Stengler. She says they just received the report in December, and haven’t had a lot of time to look at it yet, but they will be planning public consultation in the coming months.
“There is a lot of flexibility in the plan,” Stengler says.
The plan was prepared by Joel Pirnke of MTB Works, a professional trail builder, and outlines 29 potential trails that incorporate some existing trails, and can be used by a combination of hikers, horses, cross-country and downhill bikers. It is a high-level overview, and says that trail design and additional planning will be needed for any given trail development.
The Ministry of Lands, Forests and Natural Resource Operations’ Recreation Sites and Trails Branch recently gave approval for the first phase of trail development at 5 Mile near Valemount.
“Prince George and Jasper are full of people that bike, many looking for quick get-aways. If McBride and Valemount both had something, it would be a bonus for both – for visitors, and for locals,” says Stengler.
The Robson Valley Mountain Bike Association is a non-profit organization started last year. Stengler says many of the members aren’t necessarily bikers, but they are in support of having more trails and trail systems in the area.