One of the benefits to living in Northern BC (especially right now) is the ability to enjoy the outdoors within minutes of leaving your home. Outdoor recreation is, by its very nature, inclusive and low cost; however, the winter months can make getting outside challenging for even the hardiest of us.
The Prince George Cycling Club (PGCC) and PG Mountain Biking Association (PGMBA) have been working to change that by making the trails around Prince George safer, more accessible, and more enjoyable for a variety of users. With the help of an IMAGINE Community Grant in 2019, they purchased trail grooming equipment that has allowed them to groom and maintain over 60 km of single-track trails during the winter months. This stretch of trails make up the University of Northern BC, Greenway, Pidherny, and Forest for the World trail systems. Fun fact: Prince George has one of the largest winter single-track networks in Canada!
Local runners, bikers, walkers, fat-bike users, and cross-country skiers have been enjoying the benefits this winter. According to Colin Stonehouse, a PGCC member, trail use has noticeably increased. Word has it that local bike businesses have also reported an increase in the sale and service of fat bikes (the bikes with wider tires that make winter riding easier).
Using the Snow Dog trail groomer has resulted in wider and more predictable trail surfaces, which translates into a safer option for users and opens the trails up to those who may otherwise not be able to enjoy them. The groomer can also be used throughout the year, letting PGCC and PGMBA members maintain trails, remove hazards (such as deadfall and low hanging branches), and more easily access areas with equipment.
The PGCC is all about building a stronger, healthier community. They lead weekly trail building and group rides, and support Bike to Work Week, local bike races, and skill building for youth.
This project has also proven beneficial in an unexpected way.
“I never thought that our program would also play a part in providing an activity during a pandemic,” says Colin, “but it has also provided that for our community as well.”
Have a great idea on how to improve the health of your community? Apply for an IMAGINE Community Grant today! The deadline for applications is April 30, 2020.