With warm weather becoming more prevalent recently, Kimberley Trails Society general manager Ryan McKenzie has a couple of messages for trail users for springtime: avoid wet and muddy trails, and get involved if you use the trails frequently.
“It’s really hard to turn around when things get muddy, but people need to be conscious of the damage that goes on in the springtime and how much work it takes to repair that stuff,” McKenzie said.
“All the ruts and holes that get created by footprints and tires in the springtime take only a second to make, but it takes volunteers or trail crew a couple hours to get out there and fix issues like that so they don’t become bigger issues. Puddles usually turn into bigger puddles and wider trails.”
He added that while he recommends avoiding trails which are going to be wet, which are the majority at this time of year, Kimberley is fortunate in that the soil here is fairly rocky and sandy. Once spring arrives in full there are plenty of options to avoid wet, muddy terrain.
“The easiest thing to do is when you encounter a section of wet or muddy trails is to either turn around if it’s an extended area, or go straight through it,” McKenzie advised. “Not widen the trail by going around it, not going fast through it because that actually disperses a lot more material to the outsides of the trail and widens and deepens the puddles and muddy areas.”
Currently, there isn’t anything that’s truly ready to ride yet, according to McKenzie. The first place to typically open up is near the Marysville campground, in the Sunflower Hill area.
“That’s a beautiful place to walk in the springtime,” McKenzie said. “We also just need people to know that there was some logging and fuel fire interface work that went on to the west of the campground area, and so some of those areas are going to stay closed until that cleanup work has been done.”
Sunflower Hill and the Forest Crowne trails should be ready to go in a few weeks, with those areas not generally seeing a ton of wet and water issues. McKenzie explained that it’s usually later in April and May further up in the trail system where those water issues arise, and people need to be conscious of that when that time comes.
Looking ahead to the rest of 2021, there are a number of projects the Trails Society hope to accomplish. They have applied for a grant, which if they receive, they plan to do some upgrades to Thunder Turkey, one of their most popular trails. It is currently closed due to the logging interface, but McKenzie said they hope to do some work once it opens up.
“That will be a fantastic upgrade that will upgrade the spring riding, because it does dry out, it’s one of the quickest trails to dry out and it is one of the most popular trails in Kimberley, so that’s going to be a major project if we receive that grant,” he said.
Beyond that, the Kimberley Trails Society will be working with the Friends of Lois Creek, the Kimberley Nature Park Society and Recreation Sites and Trails BC on a number of other small maintenance projects, including addressing sustainability, accessibility and safety issues.
Additionally, McKenzie said his big message is for trail users to get involved.
“We won’t be able to control everybody and the message won’t get out to everyone to avoid some of those problem areas or wrecking trails, that happens on every trail system. But if you are a trail user, try and get involved in one way or another or come out to at least one of the volunteer nights, because it’s a massive network and we should all take care of it.”
The best way to help out is to come out to one of the volunteer trail nights the society puts on, which McKenzie said do wonders for the trail system. They do upgrades, new builds, tree clearing and cleanup of the trails in all the different networks throughout the season.
That information can be found on their website www.kimberleytrails.org where a calendar of those upcoming events will be uploaded soon.