The Quesnel Cross Country Motorcycle Association had the help of a helicopter when replacing a couple bridges on their Hangman Springs trail network on the Thanksgiving long weekend (Oct. 12-14).
The club received a grant for just under $9,000 from the B.C. Off-Road Vehicle Trail Fund to replace the deteriorated infrastructure this summer and realized they had enough money to make the project considerably easier on their volunteers.
“It’s about a 10-minute ATV trip,” says club president Marjie Robertson, who owns Outback BC on Highway 97.
“But it’s very tight and windy, with lots of trees, so it would have been very difficult to tow the structure and its components in.”
They had approximately 60 six-foot- long 4×10 rough-cut pieces of lumber to transport, so Robertson says it would have been a lot of trips back and forth, with a high chance of damaging the trails, the surrounding trees and the wood for the bridges.
With a limited amount of volunteers available on the long weekend, the club decided a helicopter was worth the investment.
They contacted Highland Helicopters and through some finagling, managed to secure a chopper for their needs.
“Ted Fisher was the pilot, and he did back flips to get us a helicopter for the weekend,” Robertson says. “He brought some nets with him, laid them out, we hand-bombed boards on there and he scooped them up and hauled them in.”
Before the fun stuff, a group of six volunteers had to come in and tear out the existing bridges on Saturday.
On Sunday, the helicopter came in and worked its magic.
“We flew all the decking in and placed them and left. There was a group of five of us at the bridge site, and two plus the pilot on the other end,” Robertson says. “And then on the Monday, three of us went in and put the decking on the bridge.”
She says the club still needs to go back and finish up some details, but the bridges are pretty much ready for use by the horses, trail runners and dirt bikers who frequent to trails.
The infrastructure will greatly increase the safety of those who use the trails, in addition to making the paths more environmentally-friendly.
Most importantly for Robertson and her club, the bridges will be ready for next year’s Outback Bushwack.
They were unable to hold the race this year, and it has been a significant annual event for them.
Next year’s race should in early June.
Robertson is extremely thankful to the volunteers who lent a hand.
“I’m very pleased that people came out on the Thanksgiving long weekend to help us,” she says.