Doctors, lawyers, carpenters, entrepreneurs, emergency service workers and your favourite barista are just some of the people you might find shredding Vernon’s selection of mountain bike trails.
Whether it is Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park, Ellison Provincial Park, Sovereign Lake or Silver Star – Greater Vernon has a trail for everyone.
These trails have become possible by the efforts of the North Okanagan Cycling Society (NOCS), a non-profit organization that is the voice for mountain biking in the North Okanagan.
The society recently held its annual general meeting to celebrate last year’s achievements and highlight what needs to be done to make mountain biking better in the North Okanagan.
About 50 members were in attendance.
“I look forward to assisting our talented board members with their efforts and continuing to create positive trail experiences for mountain bikers in the North Okanagan,” said newly elected NOCS president Matt Ball following the meeting.
Highlights from 2015 include: 615 members, up 100 from the previous year; 3,500 hours of volunteer labour; weekly rides and trail building days between May to November; support and coordination of two major events (Singletrack 6 and BC Enduro) and the creation of a Park Enhancement Fund (PEF).
With a master plan now in place, NOCS hopes to see big things in 2016.
“Plans include building some new trails, notably a new blue trail at Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park dubbed Weightless, as well (as) continued maintenance of 200-plus kilometres of trail and to attract more people in the community to mountain biking and the community that surrounds it,” said Paul.
NOCS also plans to expand upon its relationship with the City of Vernon, Vernon Tourism, BC Parks and BC Trails.
One of the members in attendance, Ray Patterson, an avid user and builder of local trails, said that “riding new trails is fun, but riding a trail that you built yourself is even better.”
NOCS is always looking for new volunteers to build and maintain trail, assist with fundraising and grant applications as well as various roles at one of the three programs (Sprockids, Trail Ninjas, Thursday Night Toonie Rides).
With 615 members and counting, NOCS needs all the help it can get to manage the vastly growing trail network and to attract more people to the sport.
“At the very least, rent or borrow a bike and come out to a Thursday Night Toonie Ride. You’ll meet new friends and have a lot of fun,” said Dudley Coulter, media contact for NOCS.