Penticton and South Okanagan
Trail network best for advanced riders
Oct 21, 2013 / 8:25 pm
Penticton Search and Rescue is reminding people that the Three Blind Mice Trail Network is for more advanced mountain bikers, following an incident this weekend.
On Saturday, a middle-aged man was airlifted by helicopter out of the area after a mountain biking accident. He did not sustain serious injuries, but it is the third incident, search and rescue has responded to at the popular area this year, alone.
"It is not a beginner's area, and people need to be aware of the level of experience they need to be out there," said search manager Dale Jorgensen.
The area, accessed from east of Naramata Road on Arawana Road at the 5 km mark and at a lower entrance known as Pearly Gate at the top of Riddle Road in Penticton, offers a wide network of trails running through the forest.
People come from all over to ride and take in views of orchards and vineyard that border Okanagan Lake, according to local enthusiasts.
Kurt Flaman, the the co owner of Freedom the Bike Shop in Penticton, said in the scheme of things it's not highly avanced, but is still considered to be a more technical area.
"I would direct people newer to the sport to Campbell Mountain, which has lots of nice, cow path style trails," he said, "As opposed to Three Blind Mice, which goes up in benches of rock, making it more technical."
Flaman who rides there often with his family, said people need to recognize it is an outdoor activity and be aware of their own riding capacity.
Jorgensen said in total in recent years, search and rescue has been up there five or six times.
Past incidents have been more serious in nature, two men died there in 2012.
In response, Jorgensen said, search and rescue has become more familiar with the area. They have up to date maps and a better knowledge of where they can access trails quickly and efficiently by ground and helicopter.
They also have a new mountain bike team, which is familiar with the area.
Jorgensen further recommends traveling with other people, letting others know when you expect to get back and calling the RCMP right away if someone is missing.
"They need to call 911, not search and rescue directly," he said "Search and rescue is then tasked by the RCMP or BC Ambulance."
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