They built the trails, now local dirt bikers are taking steps to protect their turf.
Brandon Plewes, president of the South Cariboo Track and Trail Dirt Bike Association, said the group spent this year on logistics such as registering the area’s dirt bike trails with the provincial government in an effort to protect them for longterm use.
The trails include 15 kilometres at 99 Mile hill and another 15 km and a parking lot – for dirt bikes, ATVs and side-by-sides – at Horse Lake.
The idea is to assign and mark the trails so that riders and families from out of town will know the direction of the trails and maps of the area.
Plewes noted the maintained, clear trails and beaten down tracks also help to mitigate the forest fire risk.
“We wanted to take them over and protect them for long-time use so they don’t go by the wayside and demolished for other uses,” Plewes said.
The 50-member group, which is in its second year of operation, has big plans for the dirt biking in the region. Although its membership has dropped by about 60 percent after the mills closed, the area’s trails are seeing significant use this year.
The group’s one-day and weekend passes have experienced a 60 percent bump this year, he said as more people participate in staycations or travel throughout B.C. rather than abroad.
Visitors run across all ages, Plewes said, with children as young as three taking a spin on the mini-bike track.
The club hopes to expand its work in the compound next year, by adding an enduro-type track to get cross-country races at 99 Mile and working with other clubs for a series of snowmobile drag-racing events next February.
The group held a snowmobile drag-race this past spring – the first in 12 years – and Plewes said it was a huge success, drawing participants from Burns Lake and Terrace.
“It’s more about the bragging rights,” he said. “Our club, being fairly young and new, we’re excited to get things going again.”