Bike trails on the Simpcw First Nation's old hunting grounds help youth reconnect with the land
Tom Eustache looks at his young mountain bike mates and back at the trail on the Simpcw First Nation.
"You donated some skin to this trail, holy," Eustache said, reminding them all of the falls they took while biking more than 15 kilometres worth of bike trails on the B.C. First Nation.
Eustache worked to create the trails on the old hunting grounds and is working to ensure they are used by members of the community — especially the youth — as a way to reconnect with the land.
"People get to come out here in the wilderness," Eustache said. "They get to experience nature when they aren't sitting in front of the TV."
Eustache and the youth take turns leading each other through the trails, up and down the hills they imagine their ancestors once walked.
"All of this was just hunting ground to them," he said.
Eustache said some trails were created in the '80s as part of an unemployment initiative. He didn't know about the trails growing up but now that he's discovered them, he and his kids are making more trails for the nation to enjoy.
But the enjoyment he and his family get out of the trails is a big part of the project, too.
"You come out here and you feel so free. The freedom of being out here, it's something that I think our people and many other people have been looking for," Eustache said.
He paused to take in the sounds of the kids' laughter while they whizz by him on the trail. "I love taking them out and hearing them do that," he said.
"I'm so lucky to be able to be here and enjoy it all."
Listen to the full story by the CBC's Jennifer Chrumka above.