A short drive outside of town is Lundbom Lake, a hotspot for recreational horseback riders around the province.
Now thanks to Back Country Horsemen of BC (BCHBC), it has been newly renovated with 28 brand new corrals, just in time for summer riders.
It reopened last weekend with great fanfare; a parade, barbecue, fishing, and camping, as members from around the province came to celebrate the renovated space.
The Yarrow chapter, near Chilliwack, had originally built wooden corrals at Lundbom about 15 years ago. But after the province complained that they were falling into disrepair a couple of years ago, the organization decided to upgrade the facility.
“They were old, but there was so much use here,” said Rose Schroeder, chair of the Yarrow chapter and secretary for BCHBC. “They needed more. So we decided to take it on as a provincial project.”
She said 47 volunteers from eight chapters around the province lent a hand, something that doesn’t happen a lot.
There was also help from the new Merritt chapter, which formed this year and is chaired by Kelly Brook Allen. It already boasts 29 members.
Although it was budgeted at around $31,000, the actual price for the new facilities was only about $21,000, said organizer and member of the Okanagan chapter Scott Walker. “We really did a great job on the dollar side,” he said. “Because of the donations and equipment and the people, that all added up to big savings.”
He said pipe for fencing was donated from Alberta, and another member lent the group his excavator to put the posts in. “It really was a great collaboration of many people and resources coming together,” said Walker, who played a large part in the layout of the corrals.
One change he made from the previous design was decreasing the size of the corrals. He said there were practical considerations to that decision, where horses that are unfamiliar with each other often get agitated if they’re too close.
“You could put four horses in a cusp but then that one horse affects three horses,” he explained. “The way we went was to try to minimize conflicts. It worked out well.”
He said the facilities are now some of the best in the province, and for a site as well-used as this one, it needed them.
The province also had a hand in funding the project and partnering with community members. Ed Abels is the recently retired recreation officer for the Cascades district of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. He secured funding to the tune of $12,500.
“[BCHBC] approached me months prior, in the spring of 2014 and said lets do this,” said Abels. “So I got together with some of the players here and we laid it out on paper.”
For Schroeder, a big part of having the corrals in place is for safety. “You have a safe, secure place to keep your horse overnight,” she said. “This whole perimeter is basically fence, so if it does get loose, it doesn’t really have anywhere to go.”
The next step for the organization is figuring out how to get water up from the lake to the corrals.