Cooper Quinn is always looking for opportunities to help people experience the joy of mountain biking.
A long-time mountain biking enthusiast and president of the North Shore Mountain Bike Association (NSMBA), Quinn typically hits the local trails three times a week to clear his mind and let the rest of the world fade away. Mount Seymour Provincial Park is one of his favourite places to ride.
Seeing a need for more outdoor recreation opportunities for people with mobility challenges, the NSMBA approached BC Parks in 2018 with a proposal to make an existing trail loop, which partially runs through Mount Seymour Provincial Park, more accessible for adaptive mountain bikes, youth, families and beginners. Quinn was thrilled when parks staff jumped on board.
“There are limited opportunities for beginners or adaptive mountain bikers in North Vancouver since most of the terrain around here is quite challenging. We want to build trails for the enjoyment of the whole community,” said Quinn. The NSMBA received $5,000 from the Park Enhancement Fund (PEF) for the project that began in the winter of 2018 and is nearing completion.
More than 200 volunteers have worked on the project, which includes a new hiking-only path to separate mountain bikers from hikers on a downhill section of the multi-use trail. The project focused on sustainability and reducing environmental impacts from the trail. All that’s left is a bit of work to meet trail standards for adaptive mountain biking.
“The Park Enhancement Fund was really the catalyst to get the project off the ground and moving forward,” Quinn said. “It was a significant amount of work, but our volunteers are incredibly dedicated.”
BC Parks is making $240,000 available this year for volunteer and other community-led projects that support conservation and recreation. Volunteers and community groups can apply for up to $5,000 per project for 2020-21. Each of the six BC Parks regions has been allocated $20,000 to support conservation projects and $20,000 to support recreation projects. In past years, funding has gone to projects that include controlling invasive species, gathering conservation data and installing interpretive signage, as well as building huts, docks and trails.
Pamela Wright, with the Ecosystem Science and Management Program at the University of Northern British Columbia, has used PEF funding to restore private land that was returned to Eskers Provincial Park. This land is located 40 kilometres northwest of Prince George.
What was a hay pasture filled with invasive species is being transformed into a diverse forest with a variety of trees donated by local nurseries and forestry companies, and planted by volunteers. The volunteers have built wildlife habitat structures like bat boxes and nesting boxes, a bridge over a stream and a permanent trail around the perimeter of the field.
“It’s a good way to demonstrate restoration in a place that people can see and also do it in a climate-forward way,” said Wright. “We have increased recreation use in that area because people enjoy getting onto the trail. It’s nice to see the area making a change in that ecosystem.”
The $240,000 is made available annually through PEF, which supports volunteer initiatives, ecological monitoring and research projects that enhance provincial parks or the services offered in them. Interested volunteers and community groups must submit a project proposal by June 26, 2020. Projects will be chosen in early July, with projects to be completed by March 31, 2021.
For more information, including criteria, deadlines and how to apply for a grant from the PEF, visit:
For more information about BC Parks volunteers, including how to become one, visit: http://bcparks.ca/volunteers/
To learn more about the Park Enhancement Fund, visit: http://bcparks.ca/partnerships/pef.html
For more information about BC Parks, visit: http://bcparks.ca/