Along with the melting snow comes an end to the wait for new outdoor projects to begin. A year ago, a bike park in Princeton was just a dream…and then they built it. Now, they build more.
Every year the local fire suppression crew shows up in town – even before all the snow is melted and then they begin their training in earnest. They don’t just head out into the forest to work. They are ready to help out the community on any projects that they can that can serve as dual purpose. “If we can do projects that take manual labour and get us in shape at the same time, we will help as much as possible,” said fire suppression spokesperson Damian Truran.
“Our first priority is to clean up the site and increase safety,” Squad Boss Truran stated while standing on a jump in the Bike Park. “We have identified and are removing all unsafe trees. We are cutting them down and up and burning them in piles.”
This is just one of the safety concerns that the crew is focusing on. They plan to light the hillside on fire in a controlled burn to make the site more fire safe. “It’s important to keep the interface area clear,” stated Truran. “This area will be a great little fire barrier for the town when we are done.”
Princeton’s fire suppression crew is comprised of a twenty person crew during the fire season. At present, there are eleven out at the suppression camp with the other nine due to arrive at the beginning of May. Since their arrival, the crew has been in training mode and they are happy to help out wherever they can. “Any chance we get to help the community is important to the crew,” Truran continued. “What we do impacts other people directly and that is a good feeling. The work helps us get in shape, helps us with our training, gets our hands back on a chainsaw and it helps others. We are killing two birds with one stone.”
Making the BIke Park safe is just one aspect of the fire crew’s agenda. Under the appreciative guidance of Trenna MacLeod who has been the Bike Park project manager since day one, the fire suppression crew is building two trails that shoot down from the high school above into the park. The trails will be parallel to one another so they are conducive to racing. Nail free benches are being built, garbage is been cleaned up, pads are being poured for picnic tables and the park is teaming with activity under the hard working fire crew.
“We are going to help maintain the trails and jumps too,” added Truran. All work at the park is a huge bonus to the bike park project volunteers who have watched the site go from a piece of bare ground to a fun place for many to enjoy.
“We are expecting fire season to start a bit later this year with the high snow pack,” said Truran, “but we have to be ready. There is a lot of dead standing pine beetle trees and they are a big hazard. We call it standing dead grass. We are really glad we can help out the community with some of their projects and hope to do more.”
“Thank goodness for the fire suppression crew,” stated MacLeod. “I don’t know what we would do without them. They are hard workers and a happy fun crew . We have been working well together to assess some of the dead trees for danger and removing the ones that had to come down. The suppression crew is really working hard to help out with this community initiative and I can’t thank them enough.”