The Capital Regional District says local mountain bikers now have more safe, sanctioned areas to explore within Thetis Lake Regional Park with the unveiling of 12 kilometres of new trails.
According to the CRD, the multi-use trails officially open this week to provide a greater connection to nature and a visitor experience that differs from other mountain bike trails within its parks system.
“(They’re) all good to go,” Andy Orr, senior communications manager at the CRD, told CHEK News.
Designed for bikers, walkers, hikers and trail runners alike, the new trails are blue rated meaning they’re “more difficult” to use, the district explains, and come as regional park visitation numbers soar.
The CRD says 8.8 million people visited parks last year compared to 5.2 million in 2010 — increasing demand for different types of outdoor recreation opportunities, including mountain biking, as highlighted in the CRD’s Mountain Biking Guidelines.
“Designation of more maintained trails in Thetis Lake Regional Park while decommissioning unsanctioned trails in sensitive areas means a safer, greater connection to nature for all visitors,” the CRD said in a news release Monday.
“The newly designated trails in Thetis Lake Regional Park fit within the existing management plan for the park, and were part of the short-term actions identified to support the Mountain Biking Advisory Committee’s Advice and Guidance Report.”
In its release, the district says it will operate and maintain the trails, with project costs fitting into the existing CRD Regional Parks and Trails’ operating budget.
“The CRD is committed to building positive relationships with mountain biking communities in the region,” it added.
“Mountain biking is an activity that improves physical health, enhances mental health and wellbeing, brings people together, and encourages activity in nature, all of which align with the core values of CRD Regional Parks.”
With the addition of new trails, the CRD has updated the Thetis Lake Regional Park map: