The community of Xat’sull (Soda Creek) is determined to become more active.
Last Friday Chief Donna Dixon and a building crew cut the ribbon to officially open a new biking and hiking trail at Deep Creek.
Nearby a construction crew was busy working on a new community hall and full-sized gym that should be completed by next April.
“It will be nice to get walks in on a trail instead of on Mountain House Road which is becoming busier with traffic,” Dixon said as she joined about 20 people of all ages for the inaugural hike of the trail.
“I volunteered to organize an Aboriginal walk/run group but it has been a challenge because we don’t really have anywhere to go.”
Another really important aspect about the trail is the fact it was designed and built by the community, Dixon said.
As for the community hall, that’s been a long time coming, she added.
“We’ve had a temporary hall since the 1950s. It’s important to have a place where we can host events and come together as a community.”
Thomas Schoen with First Journey Trails was hired to train some builders and co-ordinate the project. As he joined the walkers he said the hope is the new trail will encourage youth in the community to add more trails.
“It’s a super smooth trail, good for learning how to mountain bike and really a lot of fun,” Schoen said. “I’m really proud of these guys.”
Trail builders Kyle Sellars, Krista Phillips and Shane Haines were on hand to share the unique details of the trail.
Some of those unique aspects are shelters using evergreen boughs, benches, and a riding rail that veers off a large fallen tree.
“It has been great to work outside all day and get a good workout,” Sellars smiled.
Phillips said she’d come on board six weeks ago and was proud to be a third of the crew.
Haines echoed Sellars saying working outside was a bonus.
“I really liked the people I was working with,” he added.
Funding for the project’s wages came from the Cariboo Chilcotin Aboriginal Training Employment Centre, said community development worker Crystal Cahoose.
“I love it. It’s amazing,” Cahooose said.