Trails have always been a part of Spud Valley's personality, from time immemorial to the modern day. The Pemberton trail network is one of the features that genuinely connects people across the valley (both literally and figuratively).
On Oct. 15, the Pemberton Valley Trails Association (PVTA) held its annual general meeting (AGM) in-person for the first time in two years. About 37 people came to the meeting, where a new PVTA board was elected followed by a group trail-building event.
“The PVTA has been around for quite a long time, which is cool. It’s our original trail association in Pemberton,” said PVTA president Emily Slaco.
“We're a bit different than some of the other associations in the corridor. We represent all users, be they ground bikers, horseback riders, hikers, runners, or anyone using the trail."
The newly-elected board consists of Aimee Fishman, Caleb Smith, Madison Perry, Thea Sturdy, Julia Poetschke and Mark Beaton. Slaco will continue on as PVTA president.
The trails association is one of the larger organizations in the Pemberton region, with nearly 700 paying members through PVTA and Pemberton Valley Off Road Cycling Association (PORCA) memberships.
According to Slaco, it was a very successful year for the PVTA, as several grants helped fund trail-improvement projects and the organization hired a new executive director.
The PVTA did 900 hours of paid trail maintenance in 2022, including fixing up equestrian trails such as Bob’s Loop, Side Saddle and Riverside Trail, along with completing the Mission Impossible 3 trail rerouting project in partnership with Stewardship Pemberton to help preserve the sharp-tailed snake habitat.
Along with those achievements, the PVTA also did a rebranding campaign, creating a new logo, website, Facebook and Instagram, and developed new guidelines for commercial operators to donate back to the trails.
“Another one of the larger projects underway is putting up more signage in the Mackenzie Trail area where the bulk of the trail network is currently,” Slaco said.
“It was a bit of a maze before, but lots of signage has gone up in the last couple of years, and now we're going to focus our attention on the One Mile. So signage will start going up there through the fall and spring of next year.”
In addition to the signage in the Mackenzie Basin area, the PVTA is working on a cultural signage project with the Lil’wat Nation to increase knowledge of Lil’wat cultural sites.
The PVTA also plans to continue working on the goals of the Pemberton Valley Trails Master Plan; create a trail sponsorship program; and host more trail days sponsored by local businesses in the spring and fall.
Slaco encourages anyone interested in the trails to become a member of the PVTA and volunteer on upcoming trail days.
“We encourage everyone to become a member because your membership goes directly back into the trails and the trail association. It’s only $20 per membership, so really, that's a bargain to use the trails in Pemberton year-round,” Slaco said.
“Even though we are so close to Whistler, and we get a lot of traffic from Whistler, being so small, we don't get the same kind of funding that they get for trails, and we rely hugely on volunteers and donations. We appreciate people becoming members, donating either through Trailforks or through our website, and supporting us by coming out to trail days.”
Learn more about the PVTA on its website.