Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA and longtime snowmobiling advocate Donna Barnett is thrilled to be celebrating 50 years of organized snowmobiling in the province this year.
Next week, the British Columbia Snowmobile Federation is hosting a commemorative ride along the Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail from Kamloops to Wells/Barkerville from Jan. 31 to Feb. 8 to celebrate half a century of operation, including a stop at Horsefly and Yank’s Peak.
“Fifty years for the BCSF is an attribute to the federation and to the volunteers that have been participating,” said Barnett who, with her late husband, Jack, were catalysts in the construction of the GRST.
“The snowmobile community has always been a close-knit family, caring about the environment, worrying about wildlife and doing what they can to enjoy [the sport.]”
Barnett worked with her husband for 46 years on various snowmobile projects. They started a skidoo business in 93 Mile in 1968.
“We were involved in the first big races in the Cariboo,” she said. “We were there and helped build the 100 Mile snowmobile track, my husband was the president of the BCSF and I’m still an advocate for the snowmobilers of B.C.”
Roughly 25 riders will leave Kamloops on Jan. 31 and the Kamloops Snowmobile Club will guide them to Moose Lake, southeast of 70 Mile House.
The first section of the GRST spans from 70 Mile House to eight kilometres south of Horsefly.
Once at Moose Lake, riders will join members of the Green Lake Snowmobile Club who will guide them along its trails to the clubhouse, where they will be guests of honour at a dinner provided by club members.
From there, riders will travel on the GRST to the clubhouse of the 100 Mile House Snowmobile Club and tour some of their trails.
On Feb. 2 the group will ride to Ten-ee-ah Lodge through Horsefly and onto Likely, where a tailgate meeting takes place at 8 a.m.
From Likely riders will join up with members of the Williams Lake Powder Kings Snowmobile Club and travel to Yank’s Peak, where the club will provide a luncheon.
Special guests will also be in attendance at Yank’s Peak such as Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb and city councillors Craig Smith and Scott Nelson.
Longtime snowmobiler and Powder Kings supporter Karl Seibert, along with Powder Kings directors, will also be on hand.
Donegal Wilson, executive director for the BCSF, will be there, as well as Snowmobile TV and Geoff Moore from the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association.
On Feb. 3 the WLPKSC will lead riders to meet the Wells and Quesnel snowmobile clubs and then head into Wells and Barkerville.
Feb. 4-5 will be play days for the BCSF riders, who will be joined by members of the Prince George Snowmobile Club.
The BSCF riders will retrace their tracks starting Feb. 6 and arrive in Kamloops Feb. 8.
Barnett, meanwhile, has a message to send out to the participants.
“Have a safe journey, do as you always do, respect the environment and enjoy.”
– With files from the 100 Mile House Free Press