by Ida Koric
With spring upon us and local riders tuning up their bikes, it’s a great time for trail expansion.
Take-a-Hike students from the Kootenay Columbia Learning Centre partnered with DIG 2 RIDE to clear new terrain and improve existing trails on Red Mountain.
Nate Lott and Yan Labrecque created DIG 2 RIDE not only to teach local youth about the mechanics and techniques of trail building, but also to engender in them an appreciation for the outdoors, recreation and team work.
“Our program puts youth in charge of shaping the growth of our community trail system and becoming active participants in developing their community pride,” Lott explains.
DIG 2 RIDE also works with students from Rossland Summit School and Seven Summits Learning Centre, with various groups on the hill on different days of the week.
The two programs fit together well, as one of the premises of Take-a-Hike is that time spent in nature, as well as strong community connections, are vital in promoting a healthy generation.
Lott notes the huge sense of accomplishment the students get when completing a section of trail:
“There really is no greater feeling than building something over weeks, months, years, finally finishing it, and watching other people ride that creation; seeing the smiles on peoples’ faces is worth all of that time.”
In January of 2013, SD20 and the City of Trail were fortunate enough to become the first hosts of the Take-a-Hike program outside of the Lower Mainland.
The program offers alternative education options for students from Castlegar, Trail, Salmo and Rossland who just couldn’t find their place in traditional schooling.
Outdoor experiences, life skills, counselling and community involvement are a heavy focus in addition to core academics.
Aside from trail building, the students also enjoy multi-day outdoor excursions and spend several days each month volunteering with a variety of groups in surrounding areas.
DIG 2 RIDE and all of its partners are grateful to Red Mountain for providing the land for these trails to be created on. Having a legal place to work the terrain is essential to programs such as this.
Other parties also instrumental in the success of the program are the Youth Action Network, Columbia Basin Trust, Kootenay Columbia Trails Society, Rossland Summit School, Seven Summits Learning Centre and Natasha Lockey.
Visit D.I.G. Trail Design’s website for more info and photographs of the current work www.digtrails.wix.com/flow