Loyal volunteers of all ages came to help out with the to -do - list at China Ridge. The day was filled with good hard work which turned out to be a lot of fun as well.

China Ridge Trails gets winter ready

Our great neighbors arrived with their slick gas powered wood splitter and started to tackle the big pile of firewood.

Our great neighbors Corrie & Ed arrived at 8:30 a.m. with their slick gas powered wood splitter and started to tackle the big pile of firewood which would supply all of our six shelters for the upcoming ski season.

Bikers, hikers, skiers, snowshoers, naturalists and loyal volunteers of all ages arrived well before the scheduled start…by the time 11 o’clock came there was a crowd of over 40 people and Brian Dixon showed up in his backhoe.

The China Ridge Executive  had a to-do-list seven feet long written out on a big piece of cardboard hanging on the Longhouse

Odd jobs included everything from organizing the equipment shed, trimming trails, cleaning the Longhouse, sanitizing the outhouses, transporting the wood and kindling out to the shelters and painting

One of the major jobs was to build a railing to keep people safe from the snow sliding off the metal roof. This was a safety concern for the Club brought about after all the snow last winter. The longhouse is seeing increased use by all ages of school groups from Little Folks to the high school and this had to be addressed. This also included moving the large kiosk to accommodate the new safety railing. Thanks to Brian Dixon, and his skill in operating his backhoe, all these jobs got completed, as well as installing a new sign at the parking area.

The volunteers worked steady until they started to smell the wonderful homemade soups that China Ridge’s Wellness Director Sam Dixon had prepared for the day. The lunch included fresh bread and cookies from Thomasina’s, fresh veggies from  the Dixon’s garden, delicious preserves from Corrie Smith, yummy baking from various club members and hot fresh coffee & tea brought up by Sue Coyne.

After lunch, the wood splitter started up again and by three o’clock the pile was gone and all the shelters were full, the railing was finished and painted.

Everyone had  a great  time and got the chance to visit with all the other club members that they had not seen over the busy summer months.

The Armtitages, longtime and faithful supporters, came up for a drive in the afternoon, Darnella to visit and Frank  to pat all the volunteers on the back—they have attended all of the clubs activities over the past four years and we all enjoy their company. The Town of Princeton assists with annual insurance fees on the main trailhead facility, called the Longhouse. This grant allows the facility to be open to the public for the entire community to enjoy. Many families enjoy sleigh-riding on the surrounding hills and it is a great spot to have lunch.  Some grandparents have been observed playing cards while watching the kids sled from inside the warm and cozy Longhouse.

By three o’clock, the long job list was complete and everyone was still smiling and proud of all their accomplishments.

A special presentation was made to Corrie and Ed for keeping an eye on the Longhouse everyday, making sure it is not abused by parties and vandals. They are the only permanent residents in the area and they are constantly picking up garbage and keeping the place tidy.  The Club is extremely grateful to them.  Lately, there has been an increase in late night parties and a couple weeks ago the bulletin board inside the Longhouse was lit on fire. This could have been devastating to the club and the entire community to loose this popular facility.  The club does not want to lock the door, but it may be the only solution to this sort of abuse.  The police are now going to be patrolling the area more frequently.

Many remained for the club’s AGM which was held outside at the picnic table with the late afternoon sun supplying a comfortable amount of heat .

A new family to our community and future club members dropped by to check out the club.  Robin Dack , Jonathon Rheaume and their daughter Gabby were welcomed by the large friendly group of volunteers. They were impressed by all the facilities and look forward to joining our active club.

Club President, Kelley Cook, gave a wrap up of the previous  year and welcomed in the new President Bob Coyne.  Kelley remains on the executive as Vice President with Shirley Campbell returning as Treasurer and Trenna  McLeod as Secretary.  A total of fourteen directors were elected and all have taken on individual duties to assist the smooth and successful operation of the trails and facilities.

Club membership has been up to 90 in the last couple of years and remains strong.

Trail fee donations increased by $2000.00 which indicates out-of-town visitors have discovered our network of trails and facilities. A new tourism marketing strategy developed and implemented by the Club and the Thompson Rivers University Tourism Department has been extremely successful.  China Ridge is now widely known as a “destination” as a result of this partnership.  Club members are currently working with the Town of Princeton on a new brochure that will highlight the trail network and hopefully attract more all-season visitors to our beautiful area.

The dedication by our old and new members really shined on Sunday… many families  came up to help out  and it was amazing.  It has always been a passion of the China Ridge Club to attract more families up to use the trails which helps promote healthy lifestyles within our community.  By the indication of the turnout,  I think we are succeeding.

Watch for the upcoming Princeton Fall & Winter Recreation Guide and check out what will be happening this winter up at China Ridge.  There are many social events and Saturday drop in skis for anyone wanting to join the club and get in on the fun.

Check us out at  www.chinaridgetrails.com”