The success of such events as the Round the Mountain Festival illustrate the value of Kimberley’s trail system and the Kimberley Trails Society now has an additional $30,000 for the Mr. Toad extension project.
The money comes from Resort Municipality funding that had originally been allocated to a bike skills park in 2014.
It was decided not to proceed with the skills park, after a review of similar projects in other cities indicated that they are primarily used by local youth, not tourists. RMI funds are earmarked for tourist infrastructure.
According to Tourism Kimberley, which operates the Visitors’ Centre, 30 per cent of those who drop into the Centre are looking for information on trails.
This particular extension will be a connector trail in the Horsebarn Valley, enhancing the trail network directly above the Kimberley Riverside Campground. This will make the Horsebarn Valley and southern slope trail network more accessible and link into other trails, as an alternative to heavily used Nature Park Trails.
Kimberley is growing as a host for adventure racing. The Round the Mountain Festival, the Enduro Race series and this summer’s inaugural Black Spur Ultra Marathon attract hundreds of out of town participants who stay with local accommodators and spend money in the community, reports the City’s Director of Economic Development, Kevin Wilson. 11 trail-based events took place in Kimberley in 2014, up from five the previous year.
According to industry reports and the BC Provincial Tourism Strategy, trails use is the fastest growing element of the visitor economy in BC.