During our visits, we often speak about the limitless potential of the given landscape. In Antigonish we discovered the limitless potential of an organization. The Positive Action for Keppoch (PAK) group was formed when the municipality of the County of Antigonish put the kybosh on a 25 million dollar project to re-vitalize their local ski hill. Residents didn’t want to see Keppoch-Beaver mountain sit unused so formed PAK in an effort to revitalize the area from a grassroots approach instead. They have garnered more support than they initially thought possible and have already secured a 25-year lease on the land to develop trails.

Currently there are only a handful of advanced downhill runs on the mountain but the main push is to get as many beginner and intermediate multi purpose and multi-season trails established before expanding on the downhill component. Eventually, PAK would like to see downhill skiing back on the hill but they realize that it may take a while to reach that ultimate goal.

We spent much of our time with the local builders developing the overall plan and layout of the trails within the mountains boundaries. We had over 20 adults and almost 10 kids show up on Saturday for the classroom session and afternoon build. Our project consisted of merging an intermediate and advanced downhill trail right at the base of the mountain. We reclaimed the old trail that hadn’t been benchcut into the sideslope and was widening as riders slid on exposed roots. After a rough start (4 of our volunteers got stung by bees…so sorry!) we all got a little dusty and built 150 meters of new benchcut trail which included 3 really fun insloped turns. At the end of the day many people took the opportunity to test ride our sweet Trek bikes on the newly built singletrack.

On Sunday morning the local mountain bikers invited us out to sample some of the riding outside of Keppoch mountain. We were absolutely spoiled on the 3-hour ride. We climbed to see some amazing views of the harbour and surrounding area, sampled some of the local racer/builder singletrack and enjoyed the camaraderie between the other riders.

We’d like to thank the entire PAK group for their enthusiasm and for letting us share their success with them. A special thanks to John Chaisson for organizing all of the logistics of our visit, Al and Terese Tracey for putting us up in their home and for the entertaining dinner at the family cottage. A big thank you to Gregg Stewart for being our go-to guy during the visit and Donny and John for the shuttles on Thursday night.