Outdoors

With spring in the air, many people will be heading outside to do spring clean up around their homes and properties and the RDEK is urging residents doing any spring burning to use caution.

“Anyone doing spring burning must make sure they are taking steps to be prepared by having a water source, shovel or tools, burning when it’s not windy and staying on site monitoring the fire until it is completely out,” says Columbia Valley Rural Fire & Rescue Chief Jim Miller.

As days grow warmer, people in the Columbia Basin are looking forward to enjoying outdoor spaces—those in nature, and those in our communities. Looking ahead to times when restrictions ease, many communities are wondering how they can make the gathering places within their limits more welcoming and useable, or how they can add new ones altogether.

To realize their ideas, some communities have turned to Columbia Basin Trust’s Community Outdoor Revitalization Grants. Currently, this program is providing over $1.3 million to help 10 communities undertake such projects.

Spring is in the air and you are probably eager to hit the trails! April can be a tricky month for weather in Fernie. The roads are a good option this time of year in Fernie or the South Country area. You can find some great options around Baynes Lake, Jaffray, Newgate and Fort Steele.  

The Fernie Women on Wheels program (FWOW), spearheaded by an FTA member club the Fernie Mountain Bike Club (FMBC) has been running since 2013. They are a group of women ripping it up on Fernie’s awesome trails. The group has grown into weekly scheduled rides on Wednesdays and Fridays with approximately 15-20 ladies attending pre COVID-19. They hope to get things rolling again in the Spring, COVID-19 dependent. 

I stop for a rest and look back to watch her progress. My admiration for her grows with every step she takes. She moves along the up-track slowly and methodically, eyes cast down at the path ahead. She’s slower than she used to be, but who can blame her. She is walking for two now. I wonder what thoughts are coursing through her mind. I wonder if the second heart beat in her belly beats in rhythm with her own. 

The Koocanusa Recreation Steering Committee (KRSC) is seeking public comment on its Draft 2021 Koocanusa Recreation Strategy, which strives to support and manage Crown land recreation access and use in a way that maintains the ecological integrity, cultural values, recreation experience, and economic value of the Koocanusa area for current and future users.

We get to the turn around and shut off the snowmobile. The stillness that follows is like music to my ears and I feel a tickle of pride knowing that I haven’t turned into the “sled neck” my friends were 
sure I would become when I bought the machine four years ago. It is still simply a necessary tool. 

Time: Approx. 45 mins - 1 hour
Distance: 5 km • Difficulty: Blue

During these uncertain times it’s important to carve out time for yourself. Getting outside and hitting the trails is a great way to take a mental break from your daily commitments and boost your energy. A breath of fresh air always feels good!

If you are pressed for time, an easily accessible area from town is the Ridgemont trail network, which is frequently groomed in the winter. You can do this fun loop on your bike or on foot.

When COVID brought her back home in March, I did my best to take advantage. Over the summer, I observed her getting reacquainted with a town that had developed and changed, just as she had, in the years they had been separated. 

There are so many extremely amazing trails in Fernie so picking a few favourites is difficult, but here are my top three winter trails and activities!

Elk Valley Nordic Centre –  Runt/Grunt – Nordic Skiing
Time: Approx. 1 hr (depending on the number of loops) 
Distance: Approx.  7 - 10km 
Level: Blue 

The Elk Valley Nordic Centre is a real winter paradise. Tucked away in the Mount Fernie Provincial Park, the views are breathtaking. The Fernie Nordic Society has hired a paid groomer this year so the conditions have been prime time!