PVTA trail effort boosts tourism

After successful fundraiser, group presses ahead with alpine trail initiative

The Pemberton Valley Trails Association has successfully raised $30,000 and will now continue its work on the Alpine Trail Route from Pemberton to Owl Creek.

The trail will traverse across the sub-alpine to the next valley, and will be a multi-use trail for hikers and hunters, as well as bikers. John Inglis, a PVTA director and owner of Bike Co, is enthusiastic about the trail.

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"It puts Pemberton on the 'epic' map," he said.

The PVTA raised $15,000 of the money. Of that, $7,000 came via a recent fundraiser and the rest from the Village of Pemberton and Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) Area C Fund, as well as the PVTA's annual trail membership fees. The SLRD matched the money raised, contributing a further $15,000.

The June 11 fundraiser (June 11) saw a strong turnout of 150 people, a response that pleased Inglis. "People have a complete passion about it," he said of the trails effort.

Event sponsors included Whistler Brewing, Blackcomb Aviation, Tyax Air, Pemberton Soaring, Whistler Bungee, Chromag, Mt. Currie Coffee Co, Ario Construction, Schramm Vodka, Evolution, Fanatyk Co, The Bike Co, Pasta Lupino, Blackbird Bakery, and Local Motion.

The PVTA has been busy with other projects, too. Last year 28 kilometres of new trails were added, as well as eight new bridges, 15 km of horse routes, several upgrades to the Nimby trail and a new paraglider launch. In the future, PVTA director Lon Martin hopes the alpine trail will be extended to Tenquille Lake.

The PVTA also recently hosted the first Nimby Fifty, a cross-country mountain bike race. The race "brought a lot of positive response on the quality of the trails and the workmanship," Martin said.

Two hundred and twenty people signed up for the race. Martin hopes it will eventually become as popular as Squamish's Test of Metal.

Nigel Protter, the former executive director of the PVTA and a dedicated trail builder, explains: "Already there's a lot more traffic from Seattle, California, Toronto, and Europe. People have heard about these trails. The same is going to happen with the para launch. We have the foundation and backbone for a world-class network of trails. The PVTA has done amazing work."

He added, "Pemberton has enormous promise for adventure and backcountry tourism. This is a town which attracts adventurous people and they want to live here because of this."

The PVTA will also be welcoming the second annual Four Queens bike contest this summer, an event which is held in Whistler and Pemberton. The final day will be an adventure epic lasting four to eight hours on the Pemberton trails. The event begins on July 8 with a Slope Side Supply event. July 9 will see a downhill contest in Whistler Mountain Bike Park and July 10 a Super D.

Other PVTA projects include the Pemberton Valley Loop, which hasn't seen much progress recently. Many private property owners are still reluctant to allow the trail on their land, but Village of Pemberton officials are working alongside the PVTA to encourage support.

"It is something that the valley really needs," Martin said. "Pemberton has great technical riding for intermediate to experts. But we need some more intermediate and beginner trails - there's nothing for young kids."

To show support for the PVTA's work and to strengthen the association's voice, Inglis urges trail users to buy memberships.

"If you want to see the trail network get bigger and better, then you've got to be a member. It's cheap - it's $10. Last year you got $100,000 of new trails for that."

For more information about the PVTA, visit the organization's new website at pembertontrails.com

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