Trail crews worked hard to bring the 20 kilometre trail to life after the wildfires cut their building time short.

Trail crews worked hard to bring the 20 kilometre trail to life after the wildfires cut their building time short.

Deep Blue Soda trail opens against all odds

New mountain bike trail connects Whispering Willows campsite to Xatśūll Heritage Village

After a five-week shut down during prime trail building season, the crew working on the ‘Deep Blue Soda’ trail weren’t sure they would see it finished this year.

“We knew it would be tough to complete 20+ kilometres of new single-track trail in one building season, but when the wildfires hit our community, we thought that’s it, we won’t complete construction in 2017,” said Miriam Schilling, community economic development coordinator for the Soda Creek Indian Band.

But complete it they did.

The trail, which celebrated its grand opening on Nov. 2, connects the Whispering Willows campsite in Deep Creek to the Xatśūll Heritage village, a neat 20 kilometres to the north along the banks of the Fraser River. ‘Deep Blue Soda’ ties into the existing mountain bike trail system in the Soda Creek area and is rideable in both directions.

“This has been a long time in the making and a much-needed addition to our regional trails,” said Thomas Schoen, owner of First Journey Trails and Chair of the Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium.

“Deep Blue Soda is bringing a long and diverse trail to the area and adds greatly to what we have to offer to locals and visitors alike.”

With the completion of ‘Deep Soda Blue’, the Xatśūll trail network now offers over 30 kilometres of trails and is fast becoming a popular biking destination for both tourists and locals. Despite the forced trail closures due to the summer’s wildfires, trail counters registered record numbers on mountain bike trails near Blue Lake and Soda Creek in 2017.

First Journey Trails is a trail consulting business that helped with the planning and management of this new trail construction, including the training and supervision of two crews of up to twelve builders. The funds for this project were received from the Rural Dividend Program run by the Province of British Columbia as well as by the Northern Development Initiative Trust and the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition.

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