This Saturday is a chance to put some grunt work into the trails that make the area a great place to hike and mountain bike. That’s because this Saturday is the eighth annual trails day.
Patrick Kinghorn, who started the event wanted to set a day for everyone to come out well ahead of time, since most people have a busy schedule, it can be difficult to co-ordinate. But Kinghorn said the day has worked out very well in the past.
“Magically, every year 40 to 60 people show up and so it’s been really cool,” Kinghorn said.
An avid mountain biker and hiker, Kinghorn said he was riding trails one day eight years ago and thought that it was amazing that Rossland had the Kootenay Columbia Trail Society building trails and maintaining the trails.
So he came up with the idea that most people could set aside one day a year to help keep the trails in shape.
After the day of trail building, they have a potluck and refreshments as “a big thanks.”
Kinghorn said that people RSVP and so forth., but with the help of the internet to put the word out they’ve seen the day grow.
“Certainly in the last eight years we’ve had the trails society grow,” he said. “It’s kind of like magic, that Saturday morning at quarter to nine all of a sudden people start arriving and it’s been an amazing thing.”
They have the paid crew from KCTS that come out.
“Stewart Spooner is really the one who organizes it all,” he said “In terms of having all the tools available and the trail crews have gone in before and flagged out what we’re doing. They’re there to provide the learning piece in terms of saying “we’re going to dig here,” or “ this is how you make this corner, this is how you do this stuff,” so that part has been cool, because it’s been educational too.”
Sometimes the day’s been used to build a new trail, and others it’s just working on a section.
“The trail crews have gone in and sort of roughed it out and then we go in and finish it off,” he said. “And it’s kind of cool because the next day or that afternoon you can go ride it.”
Some of the past trail days have been spent working on the Tamarack trail and others.
“Last year we worked on a part of the seven summits trail,” he said. “This year we’re working on a rerouting of the lower Whiskey Trail.”
He said the day is total grunt work, where participants will get their hands dirty.
“It’s all volunteer, and I think the thing is that people can set aside that Saturday,” he said. “And it’s not just mountain bikers that come out, we’ve had others who come out and help.”
Kinghorn said the Alpine Grind has been awesome, since they allow the use of their space for the potluck.
“Revolution cycles has been awesome, almost every year there’s a draw prize for everyone,” he said.
The day is ultimately who shows up on Saturdays.
“There’s a core group of about 10 of the same people that have been coming every year, but beyond that it seems like there’s always 50 people out there,” he said. “It’s amazing how much gets done with 50 people working on a trail.”
The trail society has tools, but they do ask people to bring things like clippers, and gloves, just no power tools.
“Come prepared for a day in the woods, you know with some water and food and that kind of thing. Gloves, metal rakes, picks, shovels, that kind of stuff. Even big plastic buckets, because sometimes we have to move dirt around,” he said. “The other thing I try to make it is a learning piece. So if Stew is building a stunt or something like that he’ll prefab it then come there and put it together, so it’s an opportunity for people to come and see how those things are built..”
Kinghorn said they definitely couldn’t do it without the KCTS, since they come out to show to get it done and give pointers.
For more info or to RSVP contact Kinghorn at firstname.lastname@example.org. The day is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The Centennial Trail parking lot is the meeting area.