Loxton takes over as SPRTA president, looks forward to big plans

Sam Loxton took over as SPRTA president at a recent annual general meeting. Photo Dylan Sherrard

The future is bright, and busy, for trail association

After four years of leading the Sun Peaks Recreational Trail Association (SPRTA) Jase Petersen has stepped down as president.

The change was announced at the groups AGM in early November, whose mandate is to promote a healthy lifestyle and appreciation of the environment through the maintenance and development of trails in and around Sun Peaks.

Petersen said after helping to lead the group since it’s start, it was time to step back to focus on big changes in his professional life and allow someone else with the same passion to take over.

“It wasn’t an easy decision,” he said.

Member Sam Loxton has taken on the role of president after a few years serving on the board.

Loxton and Petersen both expressed pride at SPRTA’s achievements in the last year.

“I think 2019 was a fantastic year for SPRTA,” said Loxton. “Having an expanded board and the new membership program in place let us accomplish a lot this summer, both out on the trails and in building bike stoke amongst the community.”

After a well attended trail building workshop in the spring, members volunteered each week in the summer to create a new trail which runs from Sunburst Dr. to Burfield Dr., aptly named Sunburf. After some touch ups and a small extension when the snow melts the trail will be added to TrailForks and ready to ride.

Members were also busy working on a trail near Mt. Morrisey, hosting a booth at the Farmers’ Markets and organized events like Ladies Who Shred and a film premiere.

The High Five Day also benefited the group, raising more than $4,000 for their work. Overall SPRTA raised $10,200 this year from various donations and events.

Looking forward Petersen will stay on the board as past president to help guide Loxton.

“We’ve got big dreams for the trail network up here,” Loxton said. “The end goal is to have an expansive, fun, and free-to-use trail network for everyone in the community to enjoy.”

Loxton said SPRTA’s priorities for the upcoming year include applying for newly-required provincial permits for work within the controlled recreation area and building more trails.

Outside of the immediate area of the resort, SPRTA is also exploring other nearby areas for potential new trails. The group would like to develop a secondary network of trails at a lower elevation than Sun Peaks to allow for riding earlier and later in the season.

“The terrain in Sun Peaks has tons of potential for trails, however we’d love to create a second network at a lower elevation to give us a longer riding season up here,” Loxton said. “We’re currently looking into options to make this happen, but we want to make sure we do it legally and in cooperation with other existing land users, so that process will likely take at least a couple of years before we can get started.”

Work will also continue with Sun Peaks Resort LLP to clarify management and maintenance of cross country trails near Mt. Morrissey.

In order to continue adding and improving on trails, Loxton said, they are also considering the use of paid contractors. To achieve this they need to raise significant funds so they plan to focus on grant applications and expanding their membership and fundraising programs.

“It’s an honour to take over as president from Jase and build on all of the work he’s done for the community. I want to say a big thank you to him and the rest of the board for all their work this year, as well as to all of our members and volunteers for their support. We’ll keep working hard over the winter and I’m really excited about what SPRTA will achieve in 2020.”

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