While other kids may have spent spring break glued to their tablets or smartphones this spring break, four Colwood boys were outside, exploring, exercising and building.
And drawing the wrath of the Capital Regional District in the process.
For the past six months, teenagers Morgan Lessard, Parker Gale, Myles Moshuk and nine-year-old Ty Skaalrud have been building a mountain bike track next to the Galloping Goose Trail off Aldeane Avenue.
Using nothing but a few shovels, rakes, and a mini pickaxe, the boys carefully carved out technical trails with drops, berms, a skinny line with a two by four piece of wood (which they could ride over), and a rock garden.
The group, as well as other young mountain bikers, have enjoyed the track – that is, until last week. On Tuesday, March 20, workers with the Capital Regional District taped off the area, dismantled the trails and placed debris across to prevent people from re-building them.
According to the CRD, it has received reports during the past month of people jumping off the trails onto the Goose, creating a potential safety hazard for trail users. There was also significant impact to the ground and vegetation off the side of the trail and in the adjacent forested area.
“The CRD asks all park and trail users to stay on designated trails,” said spokesperson Andy Orr in an email. “Unauthorized building and use damages the environment and can create safety hazards for visitors.”
The boys, naturally, are disappointed.
“It’s a lot of work,” said Morgan, 13. “You get an adrenaline rush when you’re doing it [riding]. You’re having fun and you get to try new things.”
The project that started when Morgan became interested in BMX racing and doing dirt jumps, which often goes hand in hand with mountain biking. But after getting a new mountain bike, he realized there wasn’t any place to ride.
That’s when Morgan, Parker, Myles and Ty decided to take action and build their own track just metres from their homes.
The track has since become a labour of love with the boys spending countless hours working it. Morgan and Parker, who both attend Spencer Middle school, would meet up before school to do a couple of jumps, before riding over before the bell rang.
“We just love riding, it’s our passion,” said 13-year-old Parker, adding he’s seen other kids use the trail. “We just wanted something to do.”
Orr added there are other designated trails for mountain biking throughout the region, such as the Hartland area of Mount Work Regional Park. But the boys’ parents say it’s too far for them to ride alone.
Sandra, Morgan’s mother, said it’s keeping them out of trouble and they’re very courteous of others walking along the Goose.
“I think it’s great. They’re outside, they’re being boys, they’re not inside in front of video games all day,” she said.
“This is what kids used to do, this is what we used to do as kids.”