Photo courtesy Nipika Mountain Resort

Nipika adds accessible trails to network

Once done, Nipika will have one of largest accessible bike trail systems in Canada, owner estimates

Nipika Mountain Resort is building a network of adaptive trails.

Through the Greenways Trail Alliance, Nipika applied for and received a $25,000 grant for trail enhancement. When Nipika’s owner Lyle Wilson saw the standards for adaptive mountain bike trails, he realized the resort’s existing fatbike trails met many of the criteria already and, with some machinery, hand tools, “sweat and grunt work,” they will be able to make the fatbike trails into official accessible trails (trails need to meet specific criteria for grades, width, level of underbrush, roots and more to be designated accessible trails). Between about 10 km of new trails and upgrades to the existing network, Mr. Wilson said it will probably total about 55 km of adaptive trails.

Once completed, Mr. Wilson figures “we’ll have the biggest network of adaptive mountain bike trails, one of the biggest in the country.”

Mr. Wilson says this trail enhancement is definitely a community project, not just Nipika’s, and that it has come about strictly because of the support of the Greenways Trail Alliance.

Surrounding Nipika is the Cross River Canyon Recreation Area, the largest concentration of year-round multi-use non-motorized trails in the Rockies, according to the Columbia Valley Greenways Trails Alliance. The system is managed by a partnership between Nipika and the Recreational Sites & Trails of B.C., consisting of cross country ski trails, single-track trails, as well as trails used by fatbikers, hikers, snowshoers, and trail runners.

Nipika’s owners were thrilled with the idea of making the trails more accessible, leading to a wider range of users that can hop on the Cross River Canyon network.

“You do get year-round use of the trails. We’re doing fatbiking trails anyway, and fatbiking trails are growing leaps and bounds,” says Mr. Wilson. By stripping the trails down to the mineral soils, it opens up trail use for users ranging from accessible needs-based to families wanting more green (beginner) trails, to people that are not as skilled in mountain biking.

“Somebody that’s not technically competent on a mountain bike will have some really beautiful riding that doesn’t have the roots and the drops and the steepness,” explains Mr. Wilson. “And, we’ll have a bigger, beautiful fatbike system for all riders. For me, as soon as I read the grant application, it was a no-brainer.”

The trails will enhance Nipika’s existing accessible options, including a whole cabin built to commercial standards for wheelchair users, as well as the day lodge, barn, and two other cabins being wheelchair-accessible.

For more information about the Greenways Trail Alliance, see http://cvtrails.ca. For more on Nipika, see https://nipika.com

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