Construction on the new Morrisey trails ceased for the winter, but the Sun Peaks Recreational Trail Association (SPRTA) completed a significant amount of the project despite the hurdles they faced.
Sam Loxton, president of SPRTA, said the original goal was to begin early in the summer this year and have the project finished by end of season. But after a high fire danger rating restricted machine use in the forest, the contractors weren’t able to begin until Aug. 24—almost two months later than they had planned.
Construction finished around mid-October when snow and freezing soil conditions began. Loxton said he was happy they could get a good chunk of the project finished before they had to pull out.
“When they did get going they did a really good job and they worked really hard,” said Loxton. “We got as much as we could done with those kind of obstacles in place.”
There are two trails SPRTA is constructing on Mt. Morrisey: an uphill trail and a downhill trail.
The uphill trail, built for biking and hiking, is approximately six kilometers and stretches all the way to the top of Mt. Morrisey. Before the frost, Loxton said they were able to finish about 80 per cent of the trail.
“They were able to build and push through all the way from top to bottom, as well as finish building a couple of bridges that they needed to put over some water down at the bottom,” said Loxton. “They still need to come back to do some hand work on that one, you know, compact the trail, make sure all the drainage is fully in place and finish off a couple of features on the trail.”
The downhill biking trail is not as close to completion. It is broken into three sections based on the road that crosses the mountain, of which the contractors almost finished the bottom third. They dug out the trail and are close to having shaped all the corners and features of the bottom section, but the two upper sections of the trail will need to be completed next year.
Loxton said the contractors are planning to begin working on the trails again by the end of May, dependent on snow melt. They will aim to finish the uphill trail and the bottom part of the downhill trail as soon as possible.
“I think we ought to get it finished off pretty early in the summer, kind of riding season next year,” said Loxton. “There should be plenty of time next year for everyone to enjoy the trail and get out and check it out.”
Loxton said he is excited for people to see the trail because it is a different type of forest than what would typically be seen by those who ride or hike Tod Mountain. He added that this trail has been a big project for SPRTA and will be a great addition to the community.
“This is kind of the biggest purpose-built mountain bike trail that we’ve kind of got and it’ll give everyone a really nice way to get some exercise, either hiking or pedaling up to the top of Morrisey and a super fun trail for the bikers to come back down on.”