On Thursday afternoon, the Nakusp Youth Centre hosted a group of like-minded peddle-heads to discuss what the future might look like for the biking community in Nakusp.
Members of the online biking community Nakusp Freeride Downhill Mountain Bikers as well as youth representing local BMX and park riders were present at the talking session to comment on the current biking conditions and brainstorm ideas for future projects.
Cassia Parent, Nakusp Youth Coordinator, invited trail building veterans Nate Lott and Yan Labrecque from Rossland to facilitate the discussions. Lott and Labrecque have been building trails for six years and run the trail building education program, “D.I.G. 2 Ride” (Design Innovate Grow).
The Rossland riders are biking visionaries who recognize the growing demand for the transformation of select areas of public land into a sustainable network of multi-use trails that incorporates speed, efficiency and creativity in their design.
Their trial building program was contrived to directly involve youth in the design and the labor of bike projects to promote riding and an appreciation for the outdoors.
The roundtable talk began with exploring the downhill trails already frequented by bikers and identified the hot spots of use. Lott questioned, “who owns the land and who can we approach to start utilizing the land?” adding that crown land is ideal because private is much harder to work with.
The youth present waited and listened patiently to the downhill discussion until they were provoked to contribute their input. The voices of the youth turned the group’s attention towards the BMX and park riding perspective, identifying the majority of the kids in town ride in town.
David Faucher expressed an interest in a dirt jump park because the “skate park (located by the Nakusp arena) is the only thing we have.”
Faucher and the youth then went into tales of their independent attempts to build dirt jumps around town and how they are short lived, inevitably taken down by village workers or community members.
An effort has been made by the school district to answer the pleas of the BMX community with a recently installed dirt pump track located at Nakusp Elementary School. However, explicit restrictions required the design of the track to keep both bike wheels on the ground at all times thereby limiting the list of allowable features.
It is a novice track, intended to serve the riders attending the elementary school and offers no thrills or challenges for the older youth in the community.
The group seamlessly switched gears from downhill to park riding, and decided that the focus would be on making a dirt jump park a reality for Nakusp.
Lott identified that “land access is the first thing” and explained that the process needs to engender the youth if the proposal is going to be viable and sustainable.
With the vision identified and decided on, plans were made to continue the discussion with an onsite visit to the skate park on Thursday June 12. All citizens (not just the community youth) who are interested in making this project a physical actuality are encouraged to attend the onsite viewing to discuss design, layout and potential for a dirt bike jump and pump track.
“If this is something that the community wants” Lott commented, “then the community will make it happen.”