At the beginning of May I spent a couple of days with students from Thompson Rivers University who were participating in the Adventure Tourism Department's Trail Tourism Field School.


I was asked by their Instructor, Craig Campbell, to deliver a presentation on the importance of involving local advocacy groups and trail user communities during the trail tourism development process. I spoke to the importance of properly planning and implementing a community engagement framework in order to build successful partnerships between the tourism industry and the local trail user community.


Following my presentation I joined the students for a two day portion of the field component of their course. Those days were spent on the territory of the Xat'sull First Nation where we rode some great trails and participated in trail maintenance and building. The field component of the course was led by Thomas Schoen of First Journey Trails and the Aboriginal Youth Mountain Biking Program.


On the first day, Thomas gave us a tour of the Xat'sull (Soda Creek) trail network and provided insight into working with First Nations communities on trail tourism projects. We also took a break to ride a newly built trail – it's always great to be some of the first people to put the tires down on a trail!


The morning of the second day Thomas took us to some of his amazing woodwork (and possibly the the most picturesque technical trail feature in BC) to do some spring maintenance. This was followed by an afternoon putting in some new trail. At Thomas' behest, I took Craig and a number of students under my wing to lay in 50 metres of trail that provided a ride around for an out-of-place climb in the middle of a super flowy downhill section. The students did some great work for having never swung a pick or rake before and they followed the layout perfectly, leaving behind an awesome piece of fun and sustainable trailbed that really changes the feeling of the overall trail. Before heading out I took the time to ride the trail we had been working on (Hipsta DH) and I can say that I'll definitely be back…


I'd like to thank Craig and the students for inviting me to present and letting me tag along with them for a portion of the field component.


Thomas deserves a big high five for all of the work he's doing in the Cariboo to build relationships with First Nations communities and create amazing mountain bike experiences.


My appreciation also goes out to the Xat'sull community for hosting us. During my stay I had the unique opportunity to stay in a Kekuli (Pit House) at the Xat'sull Heritage Village, an experience I won't soon forget and am grateful for.



First Journey Consulting Progressive Trailbuilding –
Adventure Studies Field School–
Xatsull Heritage Village –
Ride The Cariboo –