Sometimes instead of hopping on a plane and jetting off to some exotic locale it can be more of an adventure to explore my own backyard. When this backyard happens to be the grand province of British Columbia, there are limitless options for exploration.
Burns Lake is located a few hours northwest of Vanderhoof, the “Geographical Centre of BC” and an almost 1000km drive north of my home in Vancouver. The size of BC, and Canada for that matter, is not done justice until you drive the lonely roads that crisscross this amazing expanse of land. Central and Northern BC is characterized by rolling forested (and many used-to-be-forested) mountains, clean lakes, remote towns, and people that live in “the North” for a reason: to truly get away from it all.
There are bustling mountain bike scenes in many unlikely corners of the world, and Burns Lake is no exception. A few years ago, with great co-operation and support from the Ministry of Forests, the local bike club secured funding to establish a bike park on Boer Mountain, situated just outside town. Thanks to many individual’s efforts there is now a very established bike park to enjoy, complete with a skills park, 4-cross track, long singletrack descents from the Boer Summit, and a fresh Gravity Logic designed jump trail that snakes over five kilometers down the mountain.
Our crew is here not only to sample the handiwork of the Burns Lake Mountain Bike Association (BLMBA), but to experience the vibe and culture that makes this area so unique. The sense of community is strong here, perhaps accentuated by the remoteness of this part of BC. This tightly knit community is evident on Wednesday night club rides when over 60 local kids come out to shred the bike park and get pointers from local coaches.
People here have the desire to create something for their town to grow, and are willing to donate the blood, sweat and tears required to make it happen. With the demise of the forest industry Burns Lake, and the whole North for that matter, is working hard to attract visitors to the area and inject much needed tourist dollars into the economy. The BLMBA has secured almost one million dollars in government funding towards the bike park, which has been spent very carefully and effectively. The organization and meticulous planning is apparent in the official signage, perfectly laid out trails and in the forward-thinking bike club. With a solid relationship with local government officials this bike park has a bright future.
Check back to the Cog soon for my report on the sweet Burns Lake trails, as well as more photos and a bike park video!