INDIGENOUS YOUTH MOUNTAIN BIKE PROGRAM

(formerly Aboriginal Youth Mountain Bike Program)

Background

The Indigenous Youth Mountain Bike Program (formerly Aboriginal Youth Mountain Bike Program) was founded in 2011 with the goal of helping Indigenous Youth use mountain biking and trail building in the following ways: 

  • Develop Active, Healthy Lifestyles – participating in outdoor activities helps keep youth from developing chronic conditions like obesity and diabetes and provide an alternative to involvement with gangs, violence, drugs and gaming addictions

  • Improve Mental Health – getting outdoors and engaging in physical activity are known to increase physical, mental and spiritual well-being

  • Connect with Traditional Territories – connecting with the land is a way for youth to develop a sense of ownership, stewardship and leadership in their traditional territories

  • Build Employment Skills – riding and trail building provide youth with experiences that help youth develop skills and qualities that will prepare for future employment (like working in physically demanding conditions, persisting to master difficult trails and working as part of a team)

To date, the Program has resulted in the development of over 80km of trails, the training of dozens of Indigenous trail crews in communities and the promotion of active living and reconnection with nature for thousands of youths, elders and families throughout BC.

 

Program Details

The Program partners with communities to provide the following services:

  • Community Engagement – meet with youth, family, community elders and leaders to gain an understanding of each community's needs and priorities  

  • Fundraising – secure funding to support trail development and related activities

  • Riding & Bike Maintenance Clinics – run clinics to help beginner and intermediate level bikers develop riding skills and learn to repair and maintain bikes 

  • Trail Building Workshops – run trail building workshops for volunteers to ensure each community has the expertise and knowledge to build high quality and sustainable trails

  • Indigenous Trail Crew Training – train community members to form and lead trail crews that can contract their services to new communities

  • Demonstration Trail Construction – construct demonstration trails to gauge community interest levels and to assess opportunities and challenges prior to investing in trail network development. Note that our Core Team members also have extensive experience designing and constructing large trail networks and you can learn more here

 

Our Core Team

The Program is run by our core team who partner with local volunteer riders, coaches and community leaders who are passionate about youth, community trails and mountain biking.

Patrick Lucas

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Senior Community Planner

Patrick is an award-winning, registered community planner with more than 15 years of experience.

 

His current projects focus on rural community development, Indigenous community building & reconciliation; trails, recreation & tourism planning.

 

His founded the Indigenous Youth Mountain Bike Program and is respected for his commitment to reconciliation and ability to foster relationships between First Nations and non-Indigenous communities that are based on mutual trust and respect.

Thomas Schoen

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Senior Trails Specialist

Thomas has over 20 years of experience building trails and 10 years of experience developing trail-network masterplans. He has partnered with the Ministry of Recreation Sites & Trails, regional districts, municipalities, bike clubs and private landowners.

Thomas is an active volunteer, serving as an advocate, consultant, advisor and leader of a variety of community organizations related to mountain biking, arts and tourism development, including acting as a director with the Program.  

Justin (Jay) Darbyshire

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Trails & Training Coordinator

Jay has a background in Adventure Tourism and International Tourism Development and a passion for exploring our shared physical and cultural landscape through outdoor recreation.

 

He is actively involved with shaping the future of the Canadian mountain bike community through his volunteer work with organizations including Friends of the South Slopes and Mountain Bikers of the Central Okanagan and IMBA Canada and working to develop relationships between local recreation groups and with other stakeholders.

 

Media Coverage 

Check out media coverage of the Program here

Testimonials

?Esdilagh First Nation Representative:

 

After a nice long summer of trail building we are happy to report that ?Esdilagh is greatly excited for our new vision of trail building and mountain biking.

Our Youth have been happy this summer being able to utilize all their trails, and their newly built pump track. This new activity that they can look forward to each summer has sparked a new energy within their spirits. They are very happy to move forward with their future plans to be biking experts once their trails are completed.

 

Our community has long yearned for an opportunity to teach our youth new ideas of getting on the land. We have also watched as they have become independent on trail building. We have also watched as their hearts have grown filled with excitement as they watched the show you and your crew provided to them in the community late one evening.

 

?Esdilagh is moving to a healthier life style in the next coming years and this trail system will greatly help. The motivation has been implanted into our community members to keep pushing forward with this project. We are completely satisfied with the partnership we have gone into you and your organization.

 

We cannot wait for next season to come, hopefully gaining funding from various sources, but also having the funding to have students, members, and communities working together to create a trail system that will last a life time.

Cristina Tallio, Ulkatcho FIrst Nation Health Director:

We had the chance to invite Patrick Lucas [& his] crew out to do a workshop with the community, since they started and finished one of the trails, there sense of positive expression grew stronger within them.  They were able to look at the trail once it was done and feel very proud of their accomplishments, their hard worked payed off after the long days in the heat and bugs.

 

I was very proud of the volunteers who had showed up, they were not scared of hard work and even returned every day to make sure the project was finished. 

And to this day our kids, adults and even elders enjoy the trial, it may be running, walking or biking and as our community use the trail more often we are seeing a lot more active people in our community.  We at the Health Clinic encourage everyone to be active and healthy, and to hear from members that they are utilizing the trial on their own shows that our Trail building workshop was successful.  And as Ulkatcho Health Director I would highly recommend this crew to come back and do more trails, like many other communities we are struggling with addictions.  So to have such a positive outcome after the trail building was done I am looking forward to another Workshop in the near future.

Tom Eustache, Simpcw First Nation Director of Public Works: 

The trails have had a major positive impact on our community.  It gets our youth and people out on the land and helps them to see what is possible in life and when we reconnect with our lands.

There is a regular group now of 11 youth who ride the trail and 15 women who run. The women recently participated in a competitive race and they would have never done that before. The workshops gave our community new knowledge for building trail and now we see more people coming out wanting to work as well as volunteer to build more trails. We look forward to working with the AYMBP in the future to build more and enhance our trails in the community.

Terrie Davidson, Boothroyd Indian Band:

 

Thank you Patrick, for taking the dream of our youth and other youth throughout the province and making it into reality. We appreciated the time you took to meet with the youth in Boothroyd, to hear why they felt they needed a bike trail, pump track. There are a number of communities in remote settings that will benefit from this initiative that you and your team are doing.

Communities look for ways for youth to be healthy and not turn to drugs and alcohol. With limited resources in communities the implementation of trails is wonderful, getting them outdoors, physical activity and to be proud of something they helped develop. 

I look forward on hearing more of your stories and the linkages that you have developed over the years. Keep up the good work!

Margo Wagner, Chair, Cariboo Regional District: 

The Cariboo Regional District recognizes and appreciates the value that trails provide to our region, both in terms of well-being by providing opportunities for an active lifestyle, and in the partnerships with First Nations who play an active role with trail construction as well as utilizing the trail networks. I commend the AYMBP’s many years of committed effort towards engaging Aboriginal Youth.

Tennessee Trent, Trails Recreation Sites & Trails BC Manager: 

Over the past four years, RSTBC has had the opportunity to work with the Aboriginal Youth Mountain Bike Program. Under the leadership of Patrick Lucas and Thomas Schoen, the AYMBP has taken on numerous projects that are of great interest to the RSTBC branch and to rural communities across the province. These include partnerships with the Simpcw Nation, on the Soda Creek Reserve, on the Chilcotin Plateau, in the Bella Coola valley and many others.

Each of these examples exemplifies some of the strengths of the AYMBP – specifically community engagement, reconciliation and community strengthening. I find the work that the AYMBP does to be inspiring and of vital importance to communities across BC. I have had the opportunity to witness some of the positive benefits that the AYMBP can have in rural communities. Their ability to bring communities together positions the AYMBP well to develop stronger post-wildfire communities. 

 

Ralph Phillips, Xat’sull First Nation Elder & Tourism Guide: 

The trails help our people get to know and appreciate our land more. Before there was nowhere to walk but on the road and people stopped going out on to the land. But these trails are changing that. The [trail crew] team helps our youth get ready to work as fire fighters and protect our homes and community. We hope the AYMBP will come back.

John Makson, First Nations Land Management Resource Centre: 

 

What does mountain biking and trail development have to do with colonialism and reconciliation? Perhaps more than you would think...

I have had the distinct pleasure of speaking alongside Patrick at IMBA Canada Land Manager workshops where he delivers a great talk on the BC Aboriginal Youth Mountain Biking Project. It's cool to see this topic about which he speaks so passionately, delivered to a more diverse audience.

© 2020 Big thanks to Paul Lucas, Daniel Scott and Cecile Gambin for photos used throughout this site and Mark Gaudi for the logo for the Indigenous Youth Mountain Bike Program!  

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