by LAURA KEIL
Horse riders will have a designated staging area to access new multi-use trails in McBride this fall.
The Regional District of Fraser Fort George is working with volunteers from the Robson Valley Backcountry Horsemen to make some horse-friendly additions to Koeneman Park.
The park is getting hitching rails and an informational kiosk to help make new multi-use trails more horse-rider friendly.
Eileen MacDonald, who chairs the local chapter of the Backcountry Horsemen, says the club has partnered with the local mountain bike association to develop multi-use trails on the lower slopes of McBride Peak.
“Our whole mandate is to promote trails and create and maintain existing trails,” she says of the club, which has 40 members across the Robson Valley.
The additions to Koeneman park will create a safe and convenient location for horse trailers to park and unload, she says, since the trailhead parking lot is not designed for big rigs.
“We need room to turn around,” MacDonald says.
Day-use equestrian riders will access the trails from a staging area at the Northeast corner of Koeneman Park, about 1km from the trailhead.
MacDonald stresses the trails are not open yet to the public and are still under construction, so it’s important not to use them until they are ready. The first 5km loop will likely open this fall.
The full multi-use and mountain bike trail Master Plan was designed a few years ago. MacDonald says some trails are multi-use and others will be designed principally with mountain biking in mind. She says many areas of the province have successful multi-use trails with user groups getting along.
Robson Valley Backcountry Horsemen volunteers will help Regional District staff to install hitching rails and an informational kiosk at the staging area this summer. The kiosk will likely have information about the trails, trail-sharing etiquette and other pertinent area information, MacDonald says.
Existing facilities in the park include picnic tables, fire pits, toilets, and a large open field as well as historic cabin. Camping is not allowed.