Several new trails will be built on Wonderland in Quesnel, which has lately attracted many families for a fun mountain bike ride or leisurely hike.
The parking lot is often packed for the trailhead located on Hydraulic Road south of Dragon Lake Road, with overflow parking available further up at Davon Road.
With the rising popularity of people participating in outdoor activities in the last year, Gold Rush Cycling Club (GRCC) president John Courtney said they have been keeping busy and have successfully secured over $200,000 in funding for four new trails plus upgrades to the original Wonderland trail.
Construction is anticipated to begin soon on a 1.3 kilometre intermediate downhill trail that will lead riders to a 600-metre black diamond (advanced) or a 700-metre double-black diamond (expert) descent. An 850-metre downhill trail with a black diamond rating featuring progressive drops and jumps for riders to build their skills will also be added.
The most exciting new trail, however, may be an 800-metre green circle (beginner) rated path that Courtney said will be the first trail in the Wonderland network appropriate for kids and those new to mountain biking.
“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our funding partners,” Courtney said.
“None of this would be possible without the province (via the CERIP Rural Economic Recovery Stream), Northern Development Initiative Trust, and the Quesnel Community Foundation. We have also received a huge amount of support from the City of Quesnel and the Cariboo Regional District, including some newly announced funding for ongoing trail maintenance around the city.”
Old wooden stunts from the 90s that have long since rotted and fallen apart on the Wonderland trail, after which the network has been named, will be upgraded to new elevated wooden structures. In addition, Courtney said there will be some polishing of tricky sections of the trail, including a new alternate route to make it fun and accessible for riders of varying skill levels.
The Wonderland trail network was developed and built following a partnership in 2018 between GRCC and Rec Sites and Trails BC.
Since then, existing trails have been brought up to international mountain bike trail standards. Four new trails have been professionally built, including a wide, flowy, machine-built trail called Mucho Oro, Courtney said.
“The popularity of the Wonderland trails has blown us away,” he added. “We were counting vehicles at the parking lot last week, and there were often 20 to 25 vehicles up there at any given time.”
Work on the new trails as well as upgrades is hoped to be completed by September 2021.