Off-road enthusiasts from all over Vancouver Island joined the Campbell River ATV Club to celebrate the grand opening of the Pye Mountain Recreation Site last weekend, capping off an approximately three-year process of getting the facility and trail system made.
“The faces I see out here are the faces of those who are responsible for what we have here today,” said president of the Campbell River ATV Club Mike Coulter to the large group assembled in the huge shelter area Saturday afternoon as the wind and drizzle came down around it. “We’ve got so many people and volunteers that worked so hard to make this place what it is. I’m very proud to be the president of this group. I’m just the spokesperson – it’s you folks who made this happen.”
The site – located just north of Roberts Lake, about five kilometres off Highway 19 – features a four-kilometre trail system along with a 24-space camping area complete with custom-made picnic tables, outhouses, fire pits and picnic shelters. It cost about $150,000 to create and was funded by a National Trails Coalition grant matched by Recreation Sites and Trails BC.
“This is one of the first of its kind on Vancouver Island,” says Duncan MacTavish of Recreation Sites and Trails BC, who worked with the club in bringing the project to fruition. “We have a couple of other ATV sites down south, but nothing like what they’ve developed here.”
Recreation Sites and Trails BC, MacTavish told the crowd, has a mandate to develop and manage opportunities for recreation – like the Pye Mountain site – on Crown land outside of provincial parks and municipalities.
One of the main differences between them and BC Parks, MacTavish says, is that Recreation Sites and Trails work in active working forests, so they need to develop and keep good relationships with First Nations and those who work in the forests, such as logging companies, in order to bring projects like this to fruition.
“But the big reason we’re able to be successful is because of our partnership agreements like the one we’ve just entered into with the Campbell River ATV Club,” MacTavish said, adding there are over 300 of these partnership agreements in place throughout the province.
The partnership agreement between Recreation Sites and Trails BC and the Campbell River ATV Club for the Pye Mountain site is signed for three years, MacTavish says, “to sort of see how things go, but I’m sure it will continue on further than that.”
He especially wanted to thank the club for not getting frustrated with the bureaucratic process of getting a project like this completed, which can be daunting for many.
MacTavish said the project, from concept to completion, took about three years, “which is pretty normal.”
“The Campbell River ATV Club was so good about working with us about regulations and whatnot, and working within the process. Without their patience and understanding about government processes and what we needed to see, working together with us to have a goal and a vision, this wouldn’t have gone so smoothly.
“It’s been awesome, and thanks to that partnership we have one of the best sites I’ve seen in a long time, here.”
North Island MLA Claire Trevena was on hand to congratulate the club, as well.
“We are extraordinarily lucky here in B.C. and especially in the North Island to have so many places where we can go out and recreate. Whether we’re hunters or fishermen or ATVers or kayakers or canoers, we have the ability to get out into the bush and enjoy our wilderness, and that’s thanks to groups like the Campbell River ATV Club – who have made this site happen – and the hard work of groups like them.”
The site isn’t just for members of the ATV Club, Coulter stresses. It’s for anyone who wants to get outdoors – especially if they like to be on something motorized when they do so. The next big event planned for the club at the Pye Mountain site is a poker run on Victoria Day long weekend, Coulter says, so watch for details on that to come out soon.
Look them up on Facebook by searching “Campbell River ATV Club” or head over to cratvclubwebsite.com to keep up to date on what they’re up to.
Duncan MacTavish and Kaela Mitchell of Rectreation Sites and Trails BC cut the ribbon to declare Pye Mountain Recreation Site officially open Saturday alongside North Island MLA Claire Trevena.
Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror