If you build it, they will come.
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to enjoy some amazing mountain biking trails.
Over the past few years, the reputation of Burns Lake as a mountain bike destination has been growing, as word is spreading throughout the mountain biking community and the public in general across north and central B.C..
In what was a major initiative by the community, the mountain bike trails in Burns Lake were built with foresight and planning – they wanted to do it right, so they hired the company that built some of the much-loved and famous mountain bike trails in the very famous Whistler, B.C..
The trail area in Burns Lake is well-situated with campsites on a small lake, outhouse facilities and a parking area.
Trails branch out from the parking lot. Great options exist for everyone and include a fun jump line, downhill options with an easy shuttle, small play park for young riders, and cross-country trails.
The trails have created a big draw for mountain bikers from across the region.
While I was there with a group of seven other riders who were all from Prince George, there was another group of a few out-of-town riders camping overnight and the parking lot during the day was nearly full, with probably 10 vehicles in the lot throughout the day.
This was only one day over the weekend, and it was a rainy day to boot, you had to be willing to get muddy. Were the weather better, I imagine there likely would have been even more.
It is so great to see a community like Burns Lake, which struggles with many of the same image issues Fort St. James struggles with, reinvent itself and create a growing sensation in a recreation community. Each year, the community hosts a race and mini mountain bike festival, which some local Fort St. James riders make a pilgrimage to every year as well.
The draw of great trails in Burns Lake has brought a whole new element to the community’s image.
Fort St. James also has some great opportunities to build on what it has, and has created some great attractions developed by some recreational communities, with amazing climbing, a great ski hill built and maintained by the community and a beautiful lake.
It is exciting to see other places in the region leading the way and bringing people to the area and exciting to think marketing to the right people and building the right infrastructure can really create change in a community’s image, economy and liveability.
Good job Burns Lake, I’ll be back.