This is Nik Berndt’s last stand to get a mountain biking and hiking trail system built in the area. He gathered potential supporters for a meeting on October 20, and is trying to organize the movement into a non-profit organization. Right now they just go by the name Kitimat Trailbuilders and can be found on Facebook.
“What we’re trying to do now as a group we’re trying to come up with a name to go ahead with this non-profit society,” said Berndt.
If they can get the society established, they can begin applying for grants to build the trail systems he hopes to see.
It’s Berndt’s second time trying to get a society like this established. He said several years ago he tried and approached the city but he felt he was effectively brushed off.
But today he has a solid community support and people are pitching in to get this idea off the ground.
His interest in mountain biking began with races he did when he was in grade 8. Today, he thinks mountain biking is a good alternative to kids hanging out at the skate park exclusively. From his own days as a student he said he knows there can be bad things passed around in those groups.
And with the town getting busier, he’s worried it’ll just get worse.
“There’s a lot more harsher things now coming in to town than when I was a kid, at least from what I’ve noticed,” he said.
And the Riverlodge doesn’t always provide relevant, modern programming, he added.
“I haven’t seen any mountain biking stuff,” he said.
But Kitimat isn’t, so far, ideally set up for mountain biking anyway.
“I wish Kitimat had something better. A lot of the trails around here are not legitimate, they’re actually illegal because they’re on private property.”
He said he has gotten permission from some landowners to use trails on their property but it’s always an imperfect solution.
“We’re trying to make everything legitimate, get everything going.”
So far he said he does have the support of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. He also has told supporters than there’s a good chance if trails start getting built, a bike shop could easily follow, either run by him or a collaboration of people.
Between working six days a week and on his way to buying a house, Berndt is burning the candle from both ends getting this organized, but he’s hopeful to see things taking shape early next year.
“I’m aiming to have everything ready to go and we can start putting shovels in the ground by the time the snow’s gone in the spring,”