Mountain Bike strategy wins award for excellence

June 18, 2015

“This wouldn’t have happened without Northern Development,” says tourism association

Northern B.C.’s trails are quickly gaining traction with gear heads throughout Western Canada.

The Northern B.C. Mountain Bike Recreation and Tourism Development strategy has been awarded the 2015 Silver Award for Excellence in Policy Planning for Small Towns and Rural Areas. The award comes from the Planning Institute of British Columbia but wouldn’t have been possible without region-wide teamwork supported by Northern Development, said Martin Littlejohn, executive director, Western Canada Mountain Bike Tourism Association.

“This wouldn’t have happened without Northern Development,” said Littlejohn. “Northern Development has been absolutely central to this project, coaching us all the way through to get the funding in place we needed to make it a success.”

The strategy brings together 12 communities and three regional districts with a common goal to maintain, improve and promote central and northern B.C.’s world-class mountain biking trails. Northern Development has collaborated with communities, mountain biking associations and marketers across the region to support a cohesive strategy for the region. That strategy helps diversify the economy in central and northern B.C., but also makes the region a more attractive place to visit and live.

“One of the things that’s key is that the strategy helps to provide valuable recreation amenities for the people that live in these communities, it builds a culture and community around mountain biking,” said Littlejohn. “With that comes a greater sense of pride in those local areas.”

During the last several years, the Trust has provided funding for trail development in Williams Lake, Prince George, Smithers, Burns Lake, Wells and elsewhere. The Trust has also worked to help promote the Big Pig Mountain Bike Festival in Burns Lake and provided support for, an online marketing initiative to promote Cariboo mountain biking destinations to travellers from all over the world. Littlejohn said his group is now focused on working with smaller communities such as Houston, Fort St. James, Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Mackenzie to add them to the list of destinations for riders who live in or visit the region.

To learn more about mountain biking in northern B.C. and how the Trust has supported it, check out this infographic we created: