Who We Are
Family is who we are. With the promotion of solid ethical trail use etiquette, and general good behavioural values to instil upon our the trail-user family, the Fernie Trails Alliance is an integral part of this community’s fabric. If I may use the analogy of being woven into the mountain towns ethos, I will.
Trails provide opportunities for multi-generational experiences to be shared in a natural, nourishing environment, also referred to locally, and affectionately as “The Bush” we are all welcomed by these life-enriching surroundings. When out on the trails, it is very satisfying and comforting to see a broad range of representative ages from young children, parents and grandparents all sharing a common activity.
My personal family experiences include forcing screaming and thrashing youngsters into car seats, then driving to one of the trailheads, and unloading the now somewhat pacified kids out into a powerful, intimidating frontier. All resistance evaporated, a smooth transition out into nature, provided the necessary back-to-the earth grounding that the family required to get reacquainted.
I have fond memories of spending adventurous family moments learning how to ride mountain bikes on the Crestbrook Interpretive Trails, which were located where the now expansive network of the Montane Trails reside. Our family would ride through fern frond-surrounded mud holes, much to the delight of two young boys, listening for the sounds of the noisy Stellars Jay, and absorbing the smells of the temperate rainforest, all the while having an energizing, skill enhancing, technical bike ride (with no shocks, carbon fibre, or Fat Tires).
The most recently constructed Montane trails now provide opportunities for all ages to explore these rich forest bench lands. Whether on the exciting new cross-country ski trails in winter, or careening about the nicely sculpted berms of the Montane Blue Trail in the summer, the community is rewarded with the exhilaration of sharing experiences with friends.
The groomed ski trails at the Fernie Golf and Country Club provide access close to town for beginners to the nordic skiing sport, whereas the Elk Valley Nordic Centre offers many options from short beginner loops suitable for small children, to more challenging longer loops for the more seasoned enthusiast. These trails offer more varied terrain, winding in amongst the western cedars, down to a Lizard Creek bridge crossing, and now connecting to the ski hill. With the Club hosting many all-access events, with final receptions at the new warming hut, a new community family is being created at this beautiful site.
The Island Lake Resort Group has a large family of employees, that work together to create quality mountain experiences for visitors and local residents alike. A prime example of this close-knit cooperation is the positive working partnership with the FTA that allowed for the creation of the Lazy Lizard trail. The trail extends from the Island Lake parking lot to Island Lake, and can be accessed in winter with snow shoes, followed most likely by snow bikes, and then just winter walkers. In summer it is very common to see family groups conquer the 8 km hike to the lodge. The collective efforts of many, churned out what is undeniably the most accessible family trail in the region for all to enjoy.
The Fernie Mountain Bike Club, another one of the FTA family members, has been very active in getting the burgeoning Fat Bike craze off to becoming a well established Fernie recreational staple. With the winter grooming of trails, Fat Tire informational forums, and upcoming Winter Trail Use map, this new sport is being nurtured Fernie style, like it was one of our kids.
Having the honour to represent the FTA, with all of the supportive energy that emanates from this community, it gives me, and my family the pleasure our life deserves.